Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (January 8, 2021)

Location: Japan
Date: January 8, 2021

State of Emergency for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba

Japan continues to experience a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, with nearly 70 percent of untraceable origin, straining health care capacity in many areas. To reduce the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Suga declared a state of emergency beginning on January 8, 2021, covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba. The Government of Japan asks that dining establishments close by 8:00 PM and stop serving alcohol at 7:00 PM. Companies are encouraged to reduce the number of people in the office by 70 percent by utilizing telework or staggered shifts, and events will be capped at 5,000 people or 50 percent of venue capacity. Residents are encouraged to refrain from non-essential outings after 8:00 PM.

The prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo have officially requested that the GOJ include their prefectures in the State of Emergency. Additional measures may be announced by prefectural or local governments. U.S. citizens should monitor local news for the most current developments.

The government continues to focus on preventative measures, including mask wearing and hand-washing. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to comply with all COVID-19 mitigation guidance from central and local government officials and to continue to take measures to protect themselves, including social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.

U.S. Mission Japan personnel continue to follow practices recommended by the U.S. and Japanese Governments, including social distancing and mask wearing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. According to media reporting, the Japanese Government intends to pursue expedited approval of vaccines. U.S. citizens in Japan should consult with their medical providers.

United States Forces Japan bases have instituted a number of restrictions based on local conditions. Many restrictions are specific to individual bases or areas. For more information, please contact base command officials.

The Internal Revenue Service has begun issuing a second round of economic impact payments. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has no role in the processing of these payments and cannot intervene with banks which decline to process paper checks. For information or assistance with these payments, please contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Updated Travel Restrictions

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Japan reimplemented strict travel regulations barring most new foreign entry into Japan on Monday, December 28. In addition, specific entry restrictions have been implemented for any traveler who has been present in an area with identified infections of the new COVID-19 variant. This includes several U.S. states, and more may be added in the future. While Japanese citizens and foreign residents with a reentry permit will be generally permitted to reenter the country, current restrictions include suspension of short-term travel programs, suspension of quarantine relaxations for certain travelers, imposition of travel deadlines for already-issued visas, and enhanced COVID-19 screening protocols for travelers arriving from specific locations. Visa free travel, and all travel for tourism, remains suspended. U.S. citizens without a current visa who have urgent need to travel to Japan should consult with their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. Similarly, travelers with valid travel visas wishing to enter Japan should also confirm the validity of relevant travel documents along with any conditions of entry with the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate prior to starting onward travel to Japan.

Regardless of the international point of origin, all travelers entering Japan remain subject to a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival and are prohibited from using public transportation to include domestic flights, taxis, and rail. Travelers arriving from certain areas, or without proof of pre-departure COVID-19 testing, may be required to quarantine for a period of time in a government-designated location.

Travelers seeking to transit Japan en route to onward international destinations may continue to do so without quarantine as long as the transit occurs within the same airport.

For information on Japan’s updated travel restrictions, please see these websites:

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizens considering travel to Japan to review carefully the information available from the Government of Japan.

Please note: These complex regulations are subject to change with little notice. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travelers denied boarding at their point of embarkation or denied entry upon arrival to Japan is extremely limited, and those travelers denied entry at Japanese ports of entry will likely be immediately reboarded on flights back to the United States.

For questions regarding the government of Japan’s travel restrictions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides contact information in Section Five of this website.

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