Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Feb. 6, 2023>
- China on Monday resumed overseas group tours for Chinese citizens after a roughly 3-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the tours will be limited to 20 countries, with Japan excluded from the list.
- With the government effectively abolishing event attendance restrictions meant to curb the coronavirus spread, sports fans and concertgoers may soon be screaming at the top of their lungs, provided they are masked, under a policy shift that is not universally welcomed.
<Feb. 3, 2023>
- The Japanese government is considering dropping its recommendation that people wear face masks at school graduation and entrance ceremonies this spring after assessing the risk of infection with COVID-19 at such events to be low, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.
<Feb. 2, 2023>
- Japan's two biggest airlines on Thursday posted net profit for the April to December period, marking the first time Japan Airlines Co. and ANA Holdings Inc. have been in the black for three quarters of a fiscal year since hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Japanese education minister on Thursday expressed the hope that students will be allowed to attend their graduation ceremonies in the spring without having to wear face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
<Feb. 1, 2023>
- China will start requiring on Wednesday all visitors on direct flights from South Korea to take a PCR test upon arrival and will quarantine those testing positive for COVID-19, the South Korean Embassy in Beijing said Tuesday.
<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.
Japan and beyond: Week in Photos - Jan. 28~Feb. 3
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)