Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency effective in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, from January 8 until February 7, 2021. Mere months ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Tokyo logged 2,447 new coronavirus cases on January 8, up 856 cases from the previous figure of 1,591 on January 7.
The new state of emergency requests residents of the four prefectures to refrain from making unessential trips after 8pm, as well as advising restaurants and bars to close by 8pm and set their last orders at 7pm (exempting takeout and delivery services). Companies are also encouraged to embrace telework and reduce on-site capacity by 70 percent.
Since December 28, Japan has banned foreign visitors from entering the country and suspended the Go To Travel campaign nationwide. These measures are expected to stay in place through the end of January.
Keep reading for more important updates and resources regarding COVID-19 in Japan.
Confirmed Cases: 267,076
(Source: Japan COVID-19 Tracker)
Updated January 8, 2021. Check here for the latest updates on COVID-19 in Tokyo.
January 07, 2020 – Tokyo logged 1,591 positive cases out of 4,477 total tests conducted, giving a 35.5 percent positive rate, as 6,001 new cases were logged nationwide. Projections expect cases to triple per day in February, and the nation remains at Stage 4 with 25 cases per 100,000 people per week.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to declare a second state of emergency in Tokyo and surrounding key prefectures later this evening by 6pm. Limited restrictions are to be put in place effective midnight, including requesting bars, restaurants and the like, which are known COVID-19 hotspots, to close by 8pm (except delivery and takeout services). These restrictions are to last at least until February 7, 2021.
Residents will be requested to refrain from going out after 8pm for nonessential or nonurgent activities, whilst companies are encouraged to telework and reduce on-site employees by 70 percent. Events are to be restricted to 50 percent capacity, with a 5,000 maximum number of attendees.
December 28, 2020 – Beginning Monday, December 28, Japan will ban foreign visitors from entering the country and suspend the Go To Travel campaign nationwide.
The new measures, in place until the end of January, come after Tokyo reported a new record of 949 new COVID-19 cases on December 26. Furthermore, seven people who had entered Japan from Britain as of December 26 were infected with a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus.
Foreign residents of Japan and business travelers from 11 countries and territories will still be allowed into Japan.
December 08, 2020 – The Go To Travel tourism program is expected to be extended until next June, but may exclude Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo is infection numbers rise in those cities. The Go To Travel explained here.
November 05, 2020 – Tokyo’s Narita International Airport opens a testing lab for outbound travelers. The PCR center can deliver test results within six hours, and can cost up to ¥46,500 (not covered by insurance). Since November 1, Japan has eased travel restrictions for foreign businesspeople from certain Asian countries, though not for any inbound foreign tourists. As of this November 5, Japan is logging an average of 750 cases per day, with about 795 cases per million people.
September 25, 2020 – The Japanese government plans to relax its rules for foreign residents and students returning to Japan from all countries (if they have permission to stay for more than three months), starting from as early as October 1.
September 14, 2020 – Tokyo joins the GoToTravel campaign. Under the program, travelers are eligible for a 50 percent discount on expenses (capped at ¥20,000 per person per night) through government-issued travel coupons. The campaign is expected to run until spring 2021.
August 28, 2020 – There were 866 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed across Japan, with 250 in Tokyo, making it the second day in a row that the number of cases exceeded 200. Numbers increased considerably since the end of July, reaching a peak on August 1. The rule forcing restaurants and bars to shorten their business hours until 10pm inside Tokyo’s 23 wards was extended, and will now last until September 15.
August 22, 2020 – The Japanese government announced that, from the beginning of September, entry restrictions for foreign residents will be eased on the condition that they carry out a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests upon arrival, and that they self quarantine for 14 days afterwards.
July 20, 2020 – There were 644 new cases of the novel coronavirus across Japan on July 18, the highest since the nation’s state of emergency was lifted in May.
In a press release published on July 13, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) called on the Japanese government to enforce equal treatment of all residents amidst ambiguous re-entry travel bans that have left some foreign residents stuck abroad for uncertain lengths of time. Japanese citizens are allowed to enter the country upon submitting a PCR test at their port of entry and agreeing to self-isolate for two weeks.
The government’s current immigration policy and its effect on the international community is causing some foreign firms to reconsider their longterm plans in the country.
May 26, 2020 – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency declaration for Tokyo, as well as Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Hokkaido, on Monday, May 25. The state of emergency is now lifted for all of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
In the capital, cultural attractions like museums and art galleries may reopen with some restrictions, and events may be held for up to 50 people. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is requesting residents to reduce contact activities by 50 percent. A re-imposition of the emergency state is possible if infections spike, Abe warned in his speech on Monday.
April 2020 – On April 16, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended the state of emergency to apply to all 47 prefectures to prevent further outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Previously, the declaration only applied to Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka and Saitama.
The nationwide emergency state, recently extended until May 31, leaves essential services and businesses (like supermarkets, hospitals and transportation systems) open to the public.
To help curb the country’s financial crisis, Japan adopted a landmark emergency economic package worth ¥108 trillion. A plan to provide financial support to all citizens and foreign residents has been implemented with a ¥100,000 cash handout scheme. If you haven’t applied yet, remember to fill out the application form that has been mailed to you by your local municipal government office within three months from the receipt. Check here for more details about the new plan and other financial support.
I might have COVID-19. What do I do?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and tiredness. Serious symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and loss of speech or movement.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange an appointment with your primary doctor or, if you do not have a primary doctor, consult with the Tokyo Fever Consultation Center (24 hours daily, Japanese only 24) at 03-5320-4592. For consultation in English, call the Tokyo Coronavirus Support Center for Foreign Residents (TOCOS) (Monday through Sunday from 10am-5pm) at 0120-296-004.
For more information, check this page (Japanese only).
Where can I get a coronavirus test in Tokyo?
Check our guide on English-friendly and affordable testing centers in Tokyo. The article covers where to get a coronavirus test in Tokyo, including how to get tested if you don’t have symptoms, how to book an appointment, order a self-test kit to be delivered to your home and how much each kind of test costs.
You can also find a list of medical institutions offering COVID-19 testing certificates nationwide on this PDF, sorted by prefecture and municipality. Official test certificates are necessary for anyone planning to travel internationally.
How to protect yourself and others
It’s advised that individuals take preventative actions against the new virus:
- Respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth when you sneeze or use a tissue and throw it away. Wear a mask and make sure you’re putting it on correctly.
- If the mask is disposable, throw it away safely and replace it at least daily. If it is reusable, be sure to wash it daily.
- Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently, particularly after touching public surfaces and before and after you eat.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid crowded places and unnecessary travel as much as possible.
- Practise social distancing where possible.
- Work remotely from home if possible rather than going into the office.
- Wipe down and clean your mobile phone regularly.
- Check your airline’s news regularly as some flights to certain destinations might be canceled and check government websites for isolation and entry rules.
What if I’m traveling to Japan?
If you are planning on traveling to Japan and you’re worried about the coronavirus, here are some steps you can take to help keep you healthy and safe:
- Bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and face masks.
- Avoid traveling at rush hour when possible.
- If traveling to other tourist attractions, check websites for closures before purchasing tickets and keep up to date with the local news.
- If you’re worried while traveling through Japan, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) operates a visitor hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Support is available in English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.From Japan 050-3816-2787
From Overseas +81-50-3816-2787
Support for victims of domestic violence
Due to a rise in domestic violence cases during the coronavirus outbreak, DV Soudan+ is offering a hotline service (available in 10 languages from May 1) as well as other forms of support such as professional counseling, financial assistance and help finding shelter.
Children, spouses and partners who feel unsafe, afraid or helpless in their current environment can reach out by phone, mail or through a chatroom. For more information about the signs and effects of domestic violence, as well as other important resources, visit TELL Japan’s Domestic Violence page.
Read our article on domestic violence in Japan for more information and important resources that can help provide assistance.
Guide to coronavirus for cancer patients
Older adults with cancer and chronic illness have the highest risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19. This English guide provides important information about protecting cancer patients during this time, advice for caregivers, cancer treatment and additional resources.
Check our COVID-19 page for all our articles related to coronavirus in Japan.
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