Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Jan. 30, 2023>
- The World Health Organization decided on Monday against declaring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, as deaths have started rising again since China dismantled its strict "zero-COVID" policy in December.
- The net population influx into Tokyo accelerated in 2022 for the first time in three years as social and economic activities have picked up in Japan amid receding worries about the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Monday.
- South Korea on Monday lifted most of its mandatory rules for the wearing of masks indoors after more than two years, as the country is believed to have entered a downward trend in the COVID-19 pandemic.
<Jan. 28, 2023>
- A total of 252 new coronavirus deaths were reported in Japan on Saturday, bringing the death toll for January to 10,124, the first time a monthly figure has exceeded 10,000, according to a tally based on prefectural reports.
<Jan. 27, 2023>
- The number of foreigners entering Japan surged nearly 12-fold to 4.20 million people in 2022, as COVID-19 border control measures were eased gradually and the number of inbound tourists spiked, the Immigration Services Agency's data showed Friday.
- Japan formally decided Friday to downgrade the legal status of the novel coronavirus on May 8 to the same category as common infectious diseases, such as seasonal influenza, to ease COVID-19 prevention rules, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
<Jan. 26, 2023>
- The Japanese government is planning to lift COVID-19 regulations on events, allowing spectators to shout and cheer even when the venue is filled to capacity, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
- The Japanese government plans to reclassify the novel coronavirus to the same category as common infectious diseases such as seasonal influenza effective May 8, government sources said Thursday.
<Jan. 25, 2023>
- Chinese health authorities said Wednesday it confirmed 6.94 million new coronavirus cases on Dec. 22, marking the highest number of daily infections as the country's reversal of its "zero-COVID" policy strategy sparked a massive wave of cases.
- The Japanese government on Wednesday downgraded its economic outlook for the first time in 11 months, reflecting a fall in exports amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in China.
<Jan. 23, 2023>
- Japan's fiscal health has been deteriorating on an "unprecedented" scale after massive spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Monday, saying it is crucial to secure fiscal space for the debt-ridden nation in case of future crises.
<Jan. 21, 2023>
- Teachers, students, medical experts and other citizens voiced anxieties Friday over the downgrading of COVID-19's legal status this spring, fearing that the action will remove anti-infection measures that have become an entrenched part of daily lives and heighten infection risks.
- The weeklong Lunar New Year holidays in China began on Saturday with no COVID restrictions after the country significantly eased its antivirus measures, but the expected large-scale human migration is prompting concern over possible outbreaks in rural areas with less developed health care systems.
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)