Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<May 24, 2022>
- Seven people from the United States arrived in Japan Tuesday as part of the first small-scale test tours in the government's planned gradual reopening to inbound tourists from June.
- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Tuesday that China had reached out to congratulate him on his appointment, despite recent bilateral tensions after Canberra called for an inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
- A western Japanese town that mistakenly sent 46.3 million yen ($363,000) in COVID-19 relief money to a resident has legally recovered about 43 million yen, or about 90 percent of it, the mayor said Tuesday.
- Japanese business circles, particularly those in the tourism sector, are unsettled by what appears to be overly cautious government policy toward resuming tourism from abroad as the Asian country's economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
<May 23, 2022>
- Over 35 million yen has been returned to a local government in western Japan that mistakenly sent 46.3 million yen ($363,000) in COVID-19 relief money to a single resident, a source close to the case said Monday.
<May 22, 2022>
- Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi suggested Sunday that the government may need to consider assisting North Korea as it apparently struggles with the outbreak of the coronavirus.
<May 21, 2022>
- The leaders of Japan, Australia, India and the United States will agree to step up the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to the international community, when they hold a summit meeting next week, a Foreign Ministry official said Saturday.
<May 20, 2022>
- North Korea on Friday reported more than 263,000 new fever cases, bringing the total number to over 2.24 million for the past three weeks, amid the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country of 25 million.
- China's central bank cut its benchmark lending rate for mortgages on Friday, its second reduction this year, as the Communist-led government's radical "zero-COVID" policy weighs on the housing and real estate sectors.
- Japan is set to double the cap on arrivals from overseas to 20,000 people per day starting next month as it continues to ease border controls triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, a government source said Friday.
- Japan will begin offering fourth coronavirus vaccine shots next week to the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, the health ministry said Friday.
<May 19, 2022>
- Wearing masks when outdoors is not always necessary even if sufficient social distancing cannot be maintained, with the caveat that people are not conversing, a Japanese government panel of experts on COVID-19 measures said Thursday.
<May 18, 2022>
- The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in April was down 95.2 percent from the same month in the prepandemic year of 2019 to 139,500 people, government data showed Wednesday, as the country moves toward accepting small-scale tours next week at the earliest.
- A man in western Japan who received 46.3 million yen ($358,000) in COVID-19 relief money from his town by mistake before gambling it all away is now contrite and wants to pay it back "little by little," according to a person familiar with the case.
Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan
- Health ministry call center
COVID-19: 0120-565-653 (toll free)
COVID-19 Vaccines: 0120-761-770 (toll free)
-Interpreters available for English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; for Thai 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; for Vietnamese 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Health ministry's COVID-19 Vaccine Navigation website
- AMDA Medical Information Center's "Multilingual Consultation Service"
- Available in Simple Japanese and English, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's COVID-19 info
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government hotline
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (including weekends and holidays)
- 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)