Last updated: September 24, 2020
Japan continues to experience COVID-19 outbreaks, though a country-wide state of emergency was lifted in late May. Prefectural and city officials issue COVID-19 mitigation requests to residents depending on the situation in the area. The Prime Minister and many prefectural officials have reiterated calls for citizens to reduce people-to-people contact, with a focus on avoiding the “three Cs:” closed spaces, crowded spaces, and close-contact settings.
Normal services are available throughout the country, including grocery stores, schools/universities, large gatherings, and religious services. Many schools have moved to an online or hybrid system. For specific information, please check with your educational institution. Most retail shops and restaurants are open though may have reduced hours. Large gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 5000 people.
Face masks are almost universally worn in public, especially in urban areas, indoors and on public transportation. U.S. citizens should be aware that failure to adhere to mask-wearing norms reflects poorly on foreign residents.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes, some
- On August 28, the Government of Japan announced policies that will permit U.S. citizens with resident or student status in Japan to enter/re-enter the country.
- U.S. citizen residents who departed Japan prior to September 1st should visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to review requirements. A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure to Japan and a certificate from the closest Japanese embassy or consulate will be required.
- U.S. citizen residents departing Japan on/after September 1st must consult with immigration authorities prior to leaving the country and receive similar written documentation in order to return. A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure to Japan will be required. Please see the information from Japan’s Ministry of Justice.
- U.S. citizens who do not fall under either category above are generally not permitted to enter Japan. Some very limited exceptions can be made for individuals with “special exceptional circumstances.” Travelers should consult with their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Ministry of Justice’s COVID-19 website (in English).
Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes. A PCR test will be conducted at the airport upon arrival. Prior to granting visas or travel permission from abroad, Japanese embassies and consulates will also require a PCR test.
Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
Visa extensions: Japanese immigration officials have: extended the period of application for certain types of visa extensions and residency applications; increased the waiting time for decisions in certain cases; extended visa validity for visitors whose period of stay expired in March through July; and, have announced new measures to reduce congestion in waiting rooms. More information can be found online here.
Is a curfew in place? No
Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No
Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes
All travelers entering Japan, including residents and dual national citizens, are required to take a PCR test at the airport and self-quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, travelers may be asked to quarantine at an airport facility until test results return. During the 14 day quarantine period, travelers are not permitted to use any form of public transportation, including taxis, trains, and domestic flights.
COVID-19 testing is primarily conducted by Japanese health officials after referral by a medical provider due to probable or suspected COVID-19 infection. This testing is free. U.S. citizens desiring tests outside of this system can consult with private clinics who may be able to offer the service. Private tests are expensive, and the U.S. citizen will be responsible for payment directly to the clinic.
Are commercial flights operating? Yes
Is public transportation operating? Yes
Services for U.S. citizens: Embassy Tokyo and Consulates in Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo have resumed some routine services. Consulate General Naha has suspended routine services but can assist U.S. citizens with urgent needs and with reporting the birth of children. For information, click here.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has resumed certain nonimmigrant visa services, including: F, M, certain J categories (alien physician, government visitor, international visitor professor, research scholar, short-term research scholar, specialist, secondary school student and college/university student), C1/D, E, I, O and P visas , K Fiancé(e) Visa, and certain immigrant visas including DV, IR1, IR2, CR1, and CR2.
The consulates in Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo have resumed certain nonimmigrant visa services, including: F, M, certain J categories (alien physician, government visitor, international visitor professor, research scholar, short-term research scholar, specialist, secondary school student and college/university student), C1/D, E, I, O and P visas.
The U.S. Consulate in Naha has resumed certain immigrant visa services, including: DV, IR1, IR2, CR1, and CR2.
Effective immediately, online payment for mail-in adult U.S. passport renewal is available in Japan. For information, please see our website.
U.S. citizens and visa applicants who are granted appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or any U.S. consulate in Japan must wear masks upon entering the premises and are prohibited from entering these facilities if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to anyone known to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.
Below are sources of local COVID-19 information in English. U.S. citizens should closely monitor trusted local news sources and local authorities’ communications for updates and information. This list is not exhaustive:
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government
- Chiba Prefecture
- Saitama Prefecture
- Gifu Prefecture
- Mie Prefecture
- Osaka Prefecture
- Kyoto Prefecture
- Kobe City
- Nagoya City (Aichi Prefecture)
- Fukuoka Prefecture
- Okinawa Prefecture
- Hokkaido Prefecture
The Japan National Tourism Organization maintains up-to-date information on screening and quarantine measures for travelers. It also operates a 24/7 visitor hotline, available in English. To call from Japan: 050-3816-2787; from overseas: +81-50-3816-2787.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare also has a 24/7 hotline at +81-3-3595-2176 with English-speaking operators, and has a Q&A on the new measures.
The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia Medical Information Center are operating a hotline to assist foreign nationals in Japan with questions about COVID-19. It is available from 10:00 to 17:00, and can be reached at 03-6233-9266. More information can be found here.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government launched a multilingual call center on COVID-19 for foreign residents. They can be reached by phone from 10:00 to 17:00, Monday through Friday, at 0120-296-004. Callers should note that the initial recording is in Japanese, but if you hold the line you can be assisted in English.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has a dedicated page on COVID-19.
The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has a dedicated COVID-19 page with additional information, including information on how to seek medical care in Japan. JNTO also operates a 24-hour hotline for visitors.
If you are currently in Japan and believe that you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please call JNTO’s hotline at 050-3816-2787.