Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Jan. 12, 2023>
- Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed disappointment Wednesday over China's decision to suspend the issuance of visas to Japanese travelers in response to Tokyo tightening border controls on visitors from China to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections.
- An expert panel under Japan's health ministry on Wednesday urged the government to take a "gradual" approach to a downgrade of COVID-19's legal status to the same level as seasonal influenza, saying robust coronavirus measures must be sustained.
<Jan. 11, 2023>
- Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed Tuesday opposition to China's decision to suspend the issuing of visas to Japanese travelers and protested through diplomatic channels.
<Jan. 10, 2023>
- China has suspended the issuance of visas to Japanese travelers, several travel industry sources said Tuesday, after Beijing threatened to take countermeasures against Japan and some other countries for their tighter COVID-19 entry restrictions for travelers from China.
<Jan. 9, 2023>
- Japan will add travelers flying directly from Macau to rules on entries from China requiring they present a negative test before departure, the government said Monday, amid surging cases in China.
<Jan. 8, 2023>
Sales of "yakitori" skewered grilled chicken at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan have been temporarily suspended due to a coronavirus outbreak among workers at the plant that supplies the venue's popular traditional snack, the Japan Sumo Association said.
- Japan's cumulative total of COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic exceeded 60,000 on Sunday, a tally showed, in the midst of the eighth wave of coronavirus infections.
- Japan further tightened border controls for travelers from mainland China on Sunday, requiring proof of testing negative for COVID-19 amid a surge of cases in the neighboring country.
<Jan. 6, 2023>
- Japan's cumulative total of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic topped 30 million on Friday, official data showed, as the country grapples with an eighth wave of infections.
- The Chinese government said Friday it expects about 2.1 billion domestic journeys to be made in the country over a 40-day travel season that includes the weeklong Lunar New Year holidays beginning Jan. 21, amid fears the large-scale human migration could further spread COVID-19.
- Standing three steps apart on an escalator significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection while it is safer to descend than ascend one, recent research by a team involving the Kyoto Institute of Technology showed.
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)