The Japanese government is including Hawaii on a list of accepted destinations for international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A press release from Gov. David Ige’s office said Monday that details for the “Japan-Hawaii safe travel program” are still being developed, and “no timetable has been set for when it would take effect.”

Japan is also in discussions with China, South Korea, Taiwan and several countries in Europe about reopening travel.

JAL Japan Airlines jet and Hawaiian Airlines sit at Daniel Inouye International Airport.
Government officials from Hawaii and Japan are discussing how to resume travel. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017

Travelers would be required to get tested for COVID-19 and provide proof of a negative molecular-based test result.

Hawaii is currently the only state in the U.S. that is being considered for the program.

“Japan and Hawaii enjoy longstanding cultural ties and a deep-rooted friendship that has enriched the lives of many generations,” Gov. David Ige said in a statement. “It’s important that we restore travel between Japan and Hawaii and we see this program as a way to make this possible, while also preventing the further spread of infections from COVID-19.”

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki, who chairs the Japan Hawaii Legislators Friendship Association, called it an “expression of confidence by Japan.”

“It’s just as important for Hawaii residents to be able to travel again to Japan to connect with family members, conduct business, and experience historic cultural sites, as it is for us to welcome the people of Japan back to Hawaii,” he said in a statement. “We are getting closer to the point where travel between Japan and Hawaii can be restarted, while staying focused on protecting people’s health. When that occurs, it will be a big step forward to reviving a segment that is important to the overall economic health of Hawaii and its people.”

Hawaii still has a 14-day mandatory quarantine for all incoming travelers, which has been extended multiple times and currently runs through Sept. 1.

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