Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from Japan and beyond:
<May 6, 2003>
- The number of job offers in Japan's hotel industry increased over 20-fold in the January-March quarter from a year before, as inbound tourism recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Tokyo-based company that operates a part-time job application service.
- The World Health Organization declared on Friday that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, citing a decline of deaths and cases involving serious symptoms.
<May 4, 2003>
- With the easing of measures against the coronavirus, Japan's Golden Week holidays have seen travelers, some no longer wearing face masks, crowding train stations and airports, with the growing influx of foreign travelers adding to the bustle.
<April 29, 2023>
- Japan lifted its COVID-19 border controls for all arrivals on Saturday, with the decision brought forward by the government in anticipation of an increase in travelers during the annual Golden Week holiday that began the same day.
<April 27, 2023>
- Japan formally decided Thursday to downgrade the legal status of the novel coronavirus to a level on par with seasonal influenza on May 8, paving the way for full normalization of social and economic activities.
- Taiwan said Thursday it will downgrade its classification of COVID-19 on May 1 to a less severe category of communicable diseases, such as flu, and disband a task force established to deal with the virus in the early stage of the pandemic.
<April 26, 2023>
- Japan is making arrangements to bring forward the lifting of its current COVID-19 border control measures to April 29 in anticipation of an increase in overseas travelers during the Golden Week holidays.
<April 21, 2023>
- The full-scale comeback of Ramadan bazaars in Southeast Asia following their suspension over the COVID pandemic brings fresh hope for stallholders but also uncovers new challenges of soaring rent and stiff competition with online shops.
<April 19, 2023>
- Japan could face a large "ninth wave" of the coronavirus pandemic in the future, a group of experts warned Wednesday, with the health minister noting a recent rise in cases of a new, contagious subvariant of the virus.
- Japan saw an estimated 1,817,500 foreign visitors in March, equivalent to 65.8 percent of the level seen in March 2019 before the novel coronavirus outbreak, government data showed Wednesday.
<April 18, 2023>
- China's economy in the January-March period grew a real 4.5 percent from a year earlier, official data showed Tuesday, with the pace of expansion accelerating from the previous quarter as the nation's stringent "zero-COVID" policy officially ended earlier this year.
<April 11, 2023>
- A major annual firework festival in Tokyo will be held this summer for the first time in four years after the display was repeatedly canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event's organizer said Tuesday.
- Shionogi & Co. said Tuesday it has applied to Taiwanese authorities for emergency use approval for its oral coronavirus drug, Xocova.
<April 4, 2023>
- Developing Asian economies are projected to see their gross domestic product grow by 4.8 percent in 2023 and 2024, up from 4.2 percent in 2022, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday. According to the ADB, Developing Asia, which groups 46 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, Australia and New Zealand, is set to see higher growth than last year due in part to China's removal of COVID-19 restrictions and solid domestic demand in India.
<April 3, 2023>
Japan will end the current border control measures on travelers from overseas on May 8 in line with its decision to categorize COVID-19 as a common disease the same day, the government said Monday, in a major shift toward normalizing social and economic activities.
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)