Singapore and Japan have agreed to resume essential business travel with the necessary public health safeguards.

The news came via a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Singapore and Japan on August 13.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Motegi Toshimitsu said that they “welcomed the ongoing negotiations” on the setting up of a “Residence Track”, that will provide for a special quota of cross-border trave by business executives and professionals (work pass holders).

The track is slated to begin as early as September.

The ministers also agreed on the major points on the Business Track (Reciprocal Green Lane), in which short-term business travellers will be subject to a controlled itinerary for the first 14 days, with the necessary public health safeguards.

The agreement is slated to be finalised by early September, with Singapore being among one of the first countries who will be part of this exchange of business travellers with Japan.

Both ministers also agreed on the importance of ensuring supply chain connectivity, modernising international trade rules for the digital economy, and forging partnerships to promote “vaccine multilateralism” amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Motegi was in Singapore for a visit from August 12 to 14 where he met Minister Balakrishnan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In his meeting with the prime minister, both ministers discussed how the two countries can work together to promote greater economic integration in the region through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prime Minister Lee welcomed Japan’s continued engagement with Asean, and agreed that Singapore and Japan can further strengthen cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic such as the facilitation of cross-border essential business travel in a safe manner for both sides.