Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Oct. 19, 2022>
- The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in September increased 11.7-fold from a year earlier to 206,500, government data showed Wednesday, with the figure likely to jump in the coming months after Japan removed almost all its COVID-19 entry restrictions earlier this month.
- The Japanese government on Wednesday eased its travel warning over the coronavirus pandemic for 76 countries and areas, such as Australia and Taiwan, no longer requesting that residents in Japan refrain from nonessential trips to any country.
<Oct. 16, 2022>
- The number of corporate bankruptcies in Japan rose 6.9 percent in the April-September period from a year earlier to 3,141 for the first increase in three years, according to a survey by a credit research company.
<Oct. 15, 2022>
- Numerous tourist spots in Japan saw visitors return Saturday, the first weekend after the government scrapped coronavirus border controls and implemented a domestic travel subsidy program in a bid to spur inbound and local tourism.
<Oct. 13, 2022>
- Japan's health ministry said Thursday those at low risk of developing serious coronavirus symptoms will be encouraged to use at-home test kits and online medical services this winter, when COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are expected to spread simultaneously.
- China plans to maintain its radical "zero-COVID policy" until at least next spring to lessen the risk of severe coronavirus cases and deaths among the elderly and prevent strain on the health care system, a Communist Party source said Thursday.
- Taiwan on Thursday lifted its COVID-19 quarantine requirement for travelers to remain in isolation for three days, in a move aimed at reviving its pandemic-battered tourism industry.
<Oct. 12, 2022>
- China has hinted at maintaining its radical "zero-COVID" policy even after the upcoming twice-a-decade Communist Party congress, with the party's flagship newspaper, the People's Daily, running a commentary warning against complacency with anti-virus measures for three days in a row through Wednesday.
- Japan's drastic easing of COVID-19 border controls may bode well for the pandemic-hit domestic tourism sector, but it could raise fears that the first inflow of visa-free foreign travelers in more than two years could spread infections at home further.
<Oct. 11, 2022>
- Japan's long-awaited lifting of border restrictions may not lead to a quick recovery to pre-pandemic levels for the nation's airlines, as the current weakness of the yen is expected not just to boost inbound tourism but also suppress demand for outbound trips while higher fuel costs will keep airfares high.
- Japan removed on Tuesday its cap on daily arrivals and its ban on individual, non-prearranged trips as it seeks to revive the country's struggling inbound tourism sector by easing its COVID-19 border controls.
<Oct. 7, 2022>
- The Japanese Cabinet on Friday approved a bill to penalize hospitals that fail to abide by agreements with local governments to prepare beds for patients with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases and provide outpatient care.
<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.
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)