Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was the first high-level official to visit Singapore since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His three-day visit included a discussion with Singaporean Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on allowing cross-border travel between Singapore and Japan.
The outcome of the discussion was that both Ministers agreed to resume essential business travel between both countries, according to a joint statement by Mr Motegi and Dr Balakrishnan.
The two “tracks” that were revealed were “residence track” and “business track”.
“Residence track” will provide a special quota of cross-border travel by the work pass holders with necessary public health measures. These travellers will be required to complete a 14-day stay-home notice upon arrival in the respective countries.
Both Mr Motegi and Dr Balakrishnan welcomed ongoing negotiations to arrange this track as early as September.
As for the “business track”, which is also called the reciprocal green lane, short-term business travellers will be given a controlled itinerary for the first 14 days along with the necessary public health safeguards.
Both the Singaporean and Japanese ministers came to agreement on the major points of these tracks, and the officials are to finalise the agreement by early September.
Dr Balakrishnan shared about his meeting with Mr Motegi on his Facebook yesterday (13 Aug).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also took to his Facebook yesterday to welcome Mr Motegi to the Istana, adding that they had a “good discussion” on how both countries can “do more together” in dealing with the pandemic.
“We are proceeding cautiously, as COVID-19 is still very much a threat. But this will be an important step forward in restoring connectivity between countries, and adjusting to life with COVID-19,” said PM Lee.