Maui News

Gov. Green works with partners to enhance travel between Japan and Hawaiʻi

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Passengers on Japan Airlines deplane in Kailua-Kona. File Photo Credit: Japan Airlines

Gov. Josh Green, M.D., announced plans to push forward with efforts to lower barriers for travel between Japan and Hawai‘i.

In partnership with the US government, the Japan government and private industry, Gov. Green’s efforts are focused on strengthening the bond between Hawai‘i and Japan, by enhancing tourism and fostering shared economic growth.

Gov. Green emphasized the significance of these initiatives in fostering stronger ties saying: “Japan and the Japanese people are part of our ‘ohana due to our historic connections, economic ties and culture, and we are committed to enhancing travel through our ‘Travel Corridor’ concept. By expanding Global Entry, integrating biometric screening, and pursuing pre-clearance status, we are making travel more efficient, convenient and secure for Japanese citizens visiting Hawai‘i.”


“Japan and Hawaiʻi consistently maintain strong ties, seen through the numerous sister city partnerships and the regular visits from Japanese delegations to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature. They are more than just partners; they are our friends. We continue to extend a warm aloha to Japanese visitors, as well as guests from around the world,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (D-24 Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, Downtown).

Gov. Green continues pursuit of pre-clearance status between Hawai‘i and partner airports such as Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Pre-clearance is a program administered by the US Customs and Border Protection that allows travelers to undergo customs and immigration inspections at their departure airport, rather than upon arrival in the United States. This initiative has been successfully implemented in 15 different locations across six partner countries, and has been proven to streamline the travel process, reduce wait times and enhance the overall travel experience.

Key among Gov. Green’s initiatives is the expansion of Global Entry for Japanese citizens. Global Entry, a traveler program administered by CBP, expedites the customs and immigration process for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. The benefits of holding Global Entry status include no processing lines, no paperwork, reduced wait-times, and PreCheck via the Transportation Security Administration.


Currently, Global Entry status is allowed for up to 1,500 Japanese citizens. The Biden Administration and Japan’s government are collaborating to find a way to expand Global Entry to Japanese citizens by removing the cap by late 2024. This will streamline entry for Japanese citizens into Hawai‘i and the rest of the United States.

In addition, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation is currently working to leverage CBP’s Mobile Passport Control through advanced biometric collection and exploring new partnerships with TSA to enhance the traveler experience, reduce wait times and increase security. Biometric screening technology offers a secure and efficient means of verifying travelers’ identities and improving border security, while expediting the screening process and reducing costs. Additionally, HDOT has begun a review of the international passenger journey for specific recommendations that can enhance the traveler experience and increase facilitation.


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