Japan and China are likely to resume travel between the two countries for businesspeople this month as part of Tokyo’s efforts to revive its domestic economy, local media reported on Tuesday.

“Japan and China are extremely important neighbors to each other and there had been many reciprocal trips before the outbreak of the coronavirus,” Kyodo News Agency quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato as addressing a news conference.

“It is extremely important that economic exchanges [between Japan and China] return to a recovery path through the resumption of travel,” he added.

Travel between the world’s second and third biggest economic powers is expected to resume this month as officials from both countries are discussing ways to reopen their borders for business people, according to the agency.

Last month, the Chinese president and Japanese prime minister agreed in their first telephone call after Japan’s premier took office, to continue talks in hopes of achieving a speedy resumption of business travel.

In 2019, over 9.5 million Chinese, including businesspeople, visited Japan.

Japan has so far reached agreements with South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore to restart short-term business trips. Tokyo had banned the entry of foreign nationals in February following the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Japan has so far recorded 93,436 COVID-19 cases with 1,676 deaths while China’s total number of infections stood at 91,006 with 4,739 deaths, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University data.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid.

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