Singapore and Japan Set Up “Green Lane” for Business Travel

Starting this Friday, eligible short-term visitors will not need to undergo two weeks of mandatory self-isolation.

The landmark Wako department store in Ginza, Tokyo. (Photo: Torsakarin/iStock)

Under a special arrangement known as The Business Track or the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), diplomatic officials and businessmen will soon enjoy quarantine-free travel between Japan and Singapore. A joint statement issued last Friday by the two nations’ foreign ministers, namely Motegi Toshimitsu and Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, announced that the scheme would be launched on September 18.

The joint statement said the RGL was “the first such framework that Japan will implement with another country,” and added that it would aid the economic recovery of Japan and Singapore. Both governments have agreed on public health safeguards including mandatory Covid-19 testing for travelers both before departure and upon arrival, and “the need to adhere to a controlled itinerary for the first 14 days in the receiving country.” Operational details such as health protocols and the application process will be announced in the coming days by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and on Singapore’s SafeTravel website.

Singapore has already set up similar travel arrangements with China, Malaysia, and most recently Brunei. The deal with the latter went into effect on September 1, allowing eligible short-term business and official travelers to fly both ways aboard twice-weekly nonstop flights between the Lion City and the oil-rich sultanate.

But with no sign of the pandemic easing abroad—as evinced by the second wave sweeping across Europe as well as a continued surge of coronavirus cases in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines—“travel bubbles” for general visitors in the Asia-Pacific region are still some way off. Singapore has unilaterally lifted entry restrictions on those arriving from Brunei and New Zealand, and its government has welcomed overtures made last week by Hong Kong’s Commerce Secretary Edward Yau on resuming quarantine-free travel with Singapore, Thailand, and nine other countries.

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