*This Japan coronavirus update will post the latest report every week.
*Data lifted from the latest Wikipedia report and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The risk of COVID-19 in Japan is still high. Based on the numbers, there is still active virus transmission, particularly in high-density cities such as Tokyo, Okinawa, Fukuoka, Osaka, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, and Hyogo. It is also worth noting that despite the absence of forced lockdowns in the country, Japan has a relatively low death rate. COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, and it is understandable why some countries have enforced lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
In Japan, no such orders were ever implemented, even during the announcement of the national state of emergency. However, the government merely requested people to refrain from going out and restaurants to close in the meantime. This soft approach was enough to control the spread of the virus. Japanese people practiced avoiding the three Cs—Closed spaces with poor ventilation, Crowded public spaces, and Close-contact settings.
While such measures have been successful in limiting the spread of the virus, there is still a risk of contracting the disease.
Foreigners staying in Japan and testing positive for COVID-19 may be isolated or barred from returning to their home country unless they fully recover from the disease. Depending on your country, you may be required to quarantine upon arrival.
As mentioned, Japan still has a high infection rate, with daily new cases reaching thousands. Despite this, the latest Japan coronavirus update states that foreign travelers can now enter the country. US citizens can enter visa-free. They are also no longer required to submit or present COVID-19 test results. Please check the table below for guidance on the travel requirements for US citizens.
US passport holders do not need visas to stay for three months.
Tourists with U.S. passports no longer need a visa to stay up to three months.
Military travelers arriving in Japan under the Status of Forces Agreement should consult with their chain of command to ensure they understand any applicable requirements prior to beginning travel.
Upon arrival in Japan, travelers will be required to complete documentation and may be required to download several smartphone applications. If a traveler does not have a smartphone, most international airports offer an option for travelers to rent one upon arrival.
Travelers coming from China and Macau (except Hong Kong) or who stayed in mainland China must present a certificate of pre-departure test and undergo testing upon arrival.
Despite the latest Japan coronavirus update, travel inside Japan is a go. Visitors can visit tourist spots for as long as they are practicing minimum health safety standards as mandated by health agencies.
For those allowed to travel to Japan, here are the cities that provide direct flights to Japan. Most of these flights are accepted in Tokyo (Haneda or Narita). There are a number of Asian flights that may also be directed to Kansai at Osaka and Kyoto airports. Watch out for the Japan coronavirus update every Monday to see if there will be changes in the list of available flights.
Quarantine upon arrival may only be required if the passenger has a positive test result at the point of entry. They will be quarantined in a government-designated hotel for seven days.
If you are among those who can travel to Japan, you may notice that most of the staff are wearing masks. They will also need to check your temperature prior to check-in and get your information. Note that the hotels will have an ample supply of hand sanitizers or alcohol throughout the premises. They will also noticeably practice social distancing to minimize contact and exposure.
Please adhere to these measures as the latest Japan coronavirus update still show a high number of infections.
If you happen to be in Japan during the pandemic, here are some useful tips to ensure your safety as you explore the country:
If you don’t have a mask, you may be exposing yourself or others to the virus. For this reason, some establishments may refuse you entry if you are not wearing one. If you need to buy a mask, they are widely available at drug stores, grocery stores, convenience outlets, and department stores. They are also available from the airport. If you cannot find one, you can ask by saying: “masuku arimasu-ka?” (Do you have masks?). Better yet, you can show them this:
マスクを探しています。 and they will understand.
If you are going to roam around, make sure that you practice social distancing. If you need to take a train, the best way to maintain a good distance is by taking the green cars, particularly on the shinkansen.
If you plan to visit popular destinations, do so either early morning or late afternoon to ensure that there will be fewer people that you may need to interact with. It would also be wiser to explore some of the not-so-popular but equally beautiful destinations in Japan.
While eating in a restaurant, everyone must also observe the necessary precautions. A number of Japanese restaurants are offering private rooms, or “koshitsu.” If you need help locating them, you can ask your hotel concierge to reserve one for you.
Note: This Japan coronavirus update was first published in October 2020 and has been updated to include the latest developments.