Coronavirus: China, South Korea consult Japan on easing business travel restrictions

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China and South Korea have consulted Japan about easing border controls on business travelers to help revive business activities, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday without citing sources.

The idea, already implemented between South Korea and China, would allow a fast-track entry of businesspeople if they test negative for the new coronavirus before departure and after arrival, the newspaper said.

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But Tokyo is cautious about relaxing border controls at this point due to fears of another spike in infections, as well as a lack of test kits for travelers, according to the report.

Japan's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday lifted his state of emergency for 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures, easing curbs on 54 percent of the population. The greater Tokyo area, accounting for one-third of the nation's economy, and other major cities remain under restrictions.

Japan has reported some 16,300 cases of the coronavirus, not counting infections on a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama port early this year, and 748 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to public broadcaster NHK.

While Japan has avoided the kind of explosive outbreaks seen in the United States and elsewhere, its testing has also been among the lowest.

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