Here are the latest updates from Japan and beyond on the coronavirus outbreak:
- Japan is considering lifting a state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo later this week as the numbers of new coronavirus infections in the three prefectures have remained low, government officials said Tuesday.
- The World Health Organization's assembly on Tuesday adopted a resolution to hold an independent investigation into the agency's response to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
- North Korea has further eased restrictions placed on foreign diplomats, such as banning visits to areas outside their residential districts, even as leader Kim Jong Un has been absent from public view for around 20 days until Tuesday.
- China has joined a draft resolution submitted at the general assembly of the World Health Organization by the European Union and Japan over the novel coronavirus outbreak, the government said Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of the U.N. agency's leading role.
- The Cabinet approved Tuesday a program to provide up to 200,000 yen ($1,900) in cash handout to each of around 430,000 university and other students in Japan struggling financially to pay for their tuition or livelihoods amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Thai government on Tuesday approved a plan for national carrier Thai Airways International PLC to seek rehabilitation through a bankruptcy court, after the loss-making airline faced a sharp fall in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Japan on Tuesday urged the World Health Organization to allow Taiwan to join its plenary sessions as an observer to discuss the global response to the new coronavirus pandemic.
- Most Starbucks stores in Japan reopened Tuesday as the number of new coronavirus infections has fallen in recent weeks, with outlets in Tokyo, Osaka and some other urban areas still offering takeout services only.
- With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, some single parents in Japan have taken to meeting online to counter feelings of isolation and share concerns with others in similar situations.
- Astronauts have long been lauded as heroic explorers of the stars, but it is their skills in confined space that may appeal more now to residents of urban Japan weary of life under a state of emergency.
- President Donald Trump on Monday told the World Health Organization, a body that he has accused of being "China-centric," that he will permanently freeze U.S. funding of it and reconsider membership unless it commits to major reform within the next 30 days.
- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he is taking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect himself against the novel coronavirus despite safety warnings over its side effects.
- Japanese para athletes with visual impairments or severe disabilities have struggled to train due to the closure of facilities and the need to practice social distancing due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
- Japan could fall into an even deeper recession after its economy contracted at an annualized pace of 3.4 percent in the January-March period, and a V-shaped recovery, much touted by the government, does not appear to be on the horizon.
- SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son is being forced to reduce his risk appetite in his investments in tech firms and unicorns that have driven the conglomerate's expansion in recent years as the coronavirus pandemic has pummeled its portfolio.
As of 11 p.m., Monday, May 18 (Japan time)
- Mt. Fuji will be closed to climbers this summer to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- The Japan Sumo Association said Monday antibody testing for the new coronavirus is now available to its roughly 900 members, including wrestlers and stablemasters.
- A U.S. military base in western Japan asked Japanese employees not to send their children to local schools in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the local board of education said Monday.
- Japan's economy in the January-March period shrank an annualized real 3.4 percent from the previous quarter due to the global coronavirus pandemic, a significant contraction for the second consecutive quarter that pushes the world's third-largest economy into recession, government data showed Monday.
- Catholic aid groups in Japan are struggling to continue their charity work for refugees and other foreigners in vulnerable situations as donations have dwindled, affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's "Tokyo Coronavirus Support Center for Foreign Residents (TOCOS)" multilingual hotline
- Available in Simple Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Khmer, and Burmese, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except national holidays.
0120-296-004 (toll free)
- 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 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"