HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced Oct. 27 that starting Friday, Nov. 6, travelers from Japan may bypass the State of Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from a trusted testing partner in Japan.
The test must be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure and the test must be negative.
This pre-travel testing program is one layer of the state’s comprehensive Safe Travels Hawaii program that makes every step of the travel process safer – from pre-arrival testing to post-arrival accommodations and experiences.
“Many of Hawaii’s residents trace their ancestry back to Japan, and welcoming our Japanese guests back to Hawaii is an important step in maintaining the close relationship between our two regions,” said Ige. “We believe we have created the safest travel testing program in the country, and we are grateful to the Japanese government for assisting us in making our pre-travel testing program available to its residents.”
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has approved the use of the COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) conducted by a laboratory authorized by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare for the pre-travel test. Twenty-one trusted testing partners in Tokyo, Hokkaido, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka and Hyogo have been approved as of Oct. 27.
“I appreciate that the members of the Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association have worked with us to enable Japanese citizens to use the pre-travel test quarantine exemption,” said Speaker of the House Scott K. Saiki. “We look forward to welcoming the people of Japan back to Hawaii. We will continue to work to reduce the number of COVID cases in Hawaii so that we can also visit Japan soon.”
Saiki is the chair of the Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association. Established in December 2013, the association has worked to strengthen the relationship between Japan and Hawaii through discussions on economic, political, military, and other issues relevant to Japan and Hawaii.
“Mahalo to our health partners in Japan for working with Hawaiʻi to implement this next phase of the Safe Travels Hawaii program,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “The program is an extra layer of safety for the people of Hawaii and our visitors, and it has restored hope for many people. We are anxious to welcome back our Japanese travelers and look forward to Japan and Hawaii’s continued relationship.”
“There is a strong cross-cultural relationship between the people of Japan and Hawaii, which over time, has forged a foundation of mutual respect,” said Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries. “Historically, the Japan traveler to Hawaii has been mindful and sensitive to our local ways and cultural traditions. At a time when we in Hawaii seek to resuscitate our economy, the resumption of trans-Pacific travel from Japan is welcomed news.”
“On behalf of the travelling public, ANA would like to thank Gov. Ige, Speaker Saiki, and those involved with developing and implementing the Pre-Travel Testing Program,” said Hiro Noguchi, station manager, Honolulu Airport Office,for All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. “We hope that with appropriate health and safety measures with additional layers of testing like the PTTP, we can resume air travel between Japan and Hawaii.”
“We look forward to supporting the phased reopening of travel between Japan and Hawaii by welcoming onboard more of our Japanese guests with enhanced health protocols to keep travelers and our islands safe,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.
“It is a welcome news for those ready to travel between Hawaii and Japan with today’s announcement of the State of Hawaii pre-travel testing program,” said Hiroshi Kuroda, vice president and regional manager, Hawaii Region, for Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. “These measures can provide a safe and secure travel experience for our customers, and serve as an opportunity for more travel between Hawaii and Japan one step at a time. Japan Airlines will continue to undertake measures to ensure safety and health of local communities and visitors as a priority.”
Japanese nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country. Travel restrictions on U.S. travel to Japan remain in place.
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