Here are the latest updates from Japan and beyond on the coronavirus outbreak:
(Osaka's Dotonbori area on Feb. 10 vs April 8)
As of 11 p.m., Wednesday, April 15 (Japan time)
- Washing-up liquid and other household cleaning products are likely to be effective in disinfecting for the novel coronavirus, Japan's industry ministry said Wednesday.
- Beverage maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday it will start providing alcohol disinfectants free of charge from later this month to hospitals to help address the shortage caused by the new coronavirus outbreak.
- Tokujin Yoshioka, the Japanese designer who created the torch designs for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic relays, has shared a method for making do-it-yourself face shields aimed at helping health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.
- The number of foreign visitors to Japan tumbled 93 percent in March from a year earlier, marking the biggest rate of decline for any month since 1964 when comparable data became available, amid the global coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.
- The Japanese government is considering whether to extend 100,000 yen ($933) each to all people regardless of income as part of efforts to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, officials said Wednesday.
- The Japanese government's task force tracking group infections of the new coronavirus stressed the need Wednesday to reduce human-to-human contact to contain the epidemic, saying 420,000 people could die if preventive measures are not taken.
- The spread of the novel coronavirus and a government request to the public to refrain from going outside has added to the predicament of many teenage girls in Japan who have left home due to abuse, poverty or other reasons.
- An opposition lawmaker has offered to resign from his party, after admitting he visited a Tokyo hostess bar despite the capital being under a state of emergency to curb the spread of coronavirus, a senior party official said Wednesday.
- China has launched an epidemiological survey in nine regions, including hardest-hit Hubei Province, to evaluate the full scale of asymptomatic infections and population immunity levels, the official China Daily newspaper reported Wednesday.
- Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura said Tuesday he never thought his debut season with the NBA team would be suspended, but called on his fans to support each other during the new coronavirus pandemic.
- Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations will hold a videoconference Thursday to coordinate their response to the coronavirus pandemic, a Japanese government official said Wednesday.
- New Zealand lawmakers including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take a 20 percent pay cut for six months in a show of solidarity with those who lost their jobs or are reliant on wage subsidies due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ardern said Wednesday.
- Drinking parties are increasingly being held online in Japan as more people stay home in self-isolation to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and pubs operate for shorter hours at the request of local authorities.
- Earnings have sharply deteriorated for homeless people who sell Japan's version of "The Big Issue" magazine, from which they earn a share of the sales proceeds, in districts where residents have been asked to stay at home to prevent further spread of the virus.
- President Donald Trump said he has directed his administration to halt U.S. funding of the World Health Organization, accusing the U.N. body of failing to respond properly to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Osaka city government requested that citizens offer unused raincoats as an alternative to protective gear that is in short supply at medical institutions amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
- Japan is experiencing a shortage of medical thermometers due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, as more businesses require employees to test their temperatures before going to work.
- Leaders of Southeast Asian countries and Japan, China and South Korea agreed on the urgent need to develop a treatment for the novel coronavirus that has triggered a global health crisis, while vowing efforts to ensure the stable supply of medical items.
- Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven industrialized nations agreed to provide debt relief to help developing countries finance emergency measures against the spread of the new coronavirus.
- With the new coronavirus pandemic hindering the progress of talks for the world's biggest free trade pact involving 16 Asia-Pacific countries, Japan may be forced to give up reaching the deal this year in the face of domestic opposition.
List of shops closed in Tokyo following emergency declaration
As of 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 14 (Japan time)
- The global economy is projected to contract by 3.0 percent in 2020 from a year before due to the coronavirus pandemic, a far more severe setback than during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.
- The government said Tuesday it has postponed this month's ceremonies to celebrate Crown Prince Fumihito's ascent to first in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne amid the new coronavirus outbreak.
- A tuberculosis vaccine is drawing global attention as it may be effective in preventing infection with the new coronavirus, but a lack of evidence so far has prompted medical communities and the World Health Organization to advise against its administration.
- Seat reservations for shinkansen bullet train and limited express services for the upcoming Golden Week holidays have plunged 90 percent to a record low in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, data by six major railway companies showed Tuesday.
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday a supplementary budget draft to finance an emergency economic package aimed at cushioning the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic will be submitted to parliament next week.
Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan
- NEW! AMDA Medical Information Center's "Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding COVID-19"
(April 10~May 20, 2020)
- Available in English, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
- Available in English and Chinese on weekdays only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's COVID-19 info
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's hotline
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Available via fax for those with hearing impairments
- Japan National Tourism Organization's "Guide for when you are feeling ill"
- Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese
- JNTO's "Japan Visitor Hotline"
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
+81-50-3816-2787 (from overseas)
- Japan's health ministry hotline
- Available in Japanese only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- World Health Organization's "Q&A on coronaviruses"