Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Oct. 5, 2022>
- Japan's health ministry on Wednesday granted special fast-track approval to U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s updated coronavirus vaccine tailored to protect against the now-prevalent BA.5 subvariant.
- A sauna bathhouse featuring a shared workspace and bar has opened in Nagoya, attracting remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners and others who see it as a unique location to meet and collaborate.
<Oct. 3, 2022>
- Japanese regional airlines Airdo Co. and Solaseed Air Inc. merged their operations Monday to cut costs and effectively utilize resources amid a slump in travel demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Monday to revive the nation's pandemic-battered inbound tourism industry by setting a new goal of increasing foreign tourists' total spending to more than 5 trillion yen ($35 billion) annually.
- The Japanese government has selected 17 projects led by companies and universities to support manufacturing of vaccines when a pandemic breaks out, the industry minister announced Monday.
<Oct. 1, 2022>
- China's weeklong holiday kicked off Saturday amid a subdued mood before the ruling Communist Party's once-in-five-years congress beginning Oct. 16, with restrictions on people's movement strengthened by the leadership of President Xi Jinping under its radical "zero-COVID" policy.
<Sept. 30, 2022>
- Australia will end mandatory five-day home isolation for people infected with COVID-19 in mid-October, the government said Friday, removing one of the last remaining virus restrictions as the country moves out of the "emergency response" phase of the pandemic.
<Sept. 26, 2022>
- Japan began Monday to simplify its coronavirus reporting system by targeting elderly and high-risk people in a bid to reduce the administrative burden on hospitals and local health centers.
- Japan will run a new domestic tourism subsidy program from Oct. 11 to late December as part of efforts to spur domestic tourism and revive the coronavirus-hit economy, tourism minister Tetsuo Saito said Monday.
<Sept. 23, 2022>
- Japan will launch a new subsidy program to boost domestic tourism on Oct. 11, the same day it plans to remove its daily cap for overseas arrivals as part of easing COVID-19 border control measures.
- Japan will remove its cap on daily arrivals on Oct. 11 as part of its easing of COVID-19 border controls, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday.
<Sept. 22, 2022>
- A large international tourism event kicked off Thursday in Japan for the first time in two years, with the travel industry hoping to overcome setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic as the country gradually eases its border restrictions.
- Japan will ask foreign guests attending the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next week to wear protective face masks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the top government spokesman said Thursday.
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)