But the two countries are now easing their restrictions, allowing the smallest flight organized by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to northern Vietnam on Thursday.
But for now, tourists are not included in the plans.
Japan and Vietnam are the latest to slowly begin to reopen borders as countries around the world balance the need to preserve their citizens – and boost their economies.
One idea that is being discussed in many regions is the so-called travel bubbles – that is, the reopening of borders, but only to residents of selected countries.
Others are still working out the details of how to open the borders.
Bula is a greeting that in Fiji means hello or welcome.
CNN’s Lilit Marcus contributed to this article.