Japan charter flight leaves for Vietnam

A flight from Japan to Vietnam has taken off for the first time since the two countries agreed to ease travel restrictions which were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A plane carrying 150 passengers, mainly businesspeople, left Narita Airport near Tokyo on Thursday. The airline provided them with protective gowns and face masks.

The specially-arranged flight came after the two countries last week agreed to allow businesspeople to resume travel between them.

The resumption is part of the Japanese government's plan to ease in stages the entry restrictions on travelers from countries and territories where virus infections are deemed to be under control.

More flights to Vietnam are scheduled through Saturday. They are expected to carry a total of some 440 people.

An employee of a real estate company in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest city, said that he had suffered while restrictions were in place as only online meetings were possible. He said he will follow the local rules as he does business in Vietnam.

Japanese foreign ministry officials say they are now working to resume entry to Japan of Vietnamese businesspeople, technical trainees and other workers as soon as possible.