Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<Feb. 26, 2023>
- Arrivals of foreign-operated cruise ships to Japan are set to near the level seen before the coronavirus pandemic when their dockings to the country resume in March after a three-year hiatus, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.
<Feb. 25, 2023>
- A high-speed boat service linking South Korea's port city of Busan and Tsushima, the Japanese island that lies closest to the Korean Peninsula, resumed Saturday after a three-year lull due to the coronavirus.
<Feb. 24, 2023>
- Sales of manga comic books and magazines in Japan were estimated to have hit a record 677 billion yen ($5 billion) in 2022, but the rise was only marginal as fewer people stayed indoors than during the earlier years of the COVID-19 pandemic, industry data showed Friday.
<Feb. 23, 2023>
- Fans welcomed the start of Japanese pro baseball's preseason exhibition season Thursday with sounds not heard at ballparks here since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, shouting, chanting and cheering.
<Feb. 22, 2023>
- Japan will offer two more booster shots to the elderly and other people at high risk of serious illness from the novel coronavirus by the end of this year, health ministry officials said Wednesday.
<Feb. 20, 2023>
- Postmortems of 11 patients who died in Japan after contracting COVID-19 in 2021 found that an infectious viral load remained in the nasopharynx and lungs of over half, with one having been dead for 13 days, a health ministry study showed Monday.
<Feb. 15, 2023>
- The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in January increased by some 130,000 from the previous month to almost 1.5 million entries, government data showed Wednesday, thanks to a boost from the Lunar New Year holiday and eased coronavirus measures for many countries.
- The Chinese Embassy in Seoul said Wednesday it will resume the issuance of short-term visas for South Korean citizens this weekend, lifting restrictions it imposed in early January as a retaliatory step for its neighbor's tighter border controls over COVID-19.
- Inbound tourism to Japan has begun to recover since the easing of COVID-19 border controls but a shortage of staff has become an increasing problem for the airline industry, as many who left their jobs during the pandemic have not returned.
<Feb. 12, 2023>
- The Tokyo metropolitan government said new cases of novel coronavirus infections fell below 1,000 for the first time in around eight months, slipping to 799 on Sunday with concern receding about an eighth wave of COVID-19 outbreak.
<Feb. 10, 2023>
- South Korea said Friday it will resume issuing short-term visas for travelers from China as COVID-19 infections in the neighboring country have subsided, with the restrictions lifted from Saturday, earlier than the original end date of late February.
- The Japanese government decided Friday to drastically ease COVID-19 guidelines on mask-wearing on March 13, including those for public transportation and schools, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida seeks to relax health restrictions for economic and social activities.
<Feb. 9, 2023>
- Singapore announced Thursday that it will remove nearly all of the remaining measures introduced in the last three years to curb the spread of COVID-19.
- Japan is considering easing COVID-19 border controls on travelers arriving from China by the end of this month, a government source said Thursday.
Japan and beyond: Week in Photos - Feb. 18~24
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)