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Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (April 10, 2020)
April 10, 2020

On April 7, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for seven prefectures – Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka – for a period of one month until May 6. The prime minister outlined measures such as teleworking, social distancing, and e-learning to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, and he asked people to avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings. Prefectural governments have announced, or are expected to announce soon, specific protective measures under the emergency declaration in the coming days. Please continue to monitor local media outlets and Japanese government announcements for up-to-date information on protective measures being taken in the area where you reside. Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko Koike announced measures for Tokyo on April 10, which requested the closure of businesses in six categories: entertainment facilities, universities and cram schools, athletic facilities, theaters, exhibition halls, and commercial establishments. Medical facilities and shops that sell daily necessities have been requested to continue operating normally.

Below are sources of local COVID-19 information in English:

Aichi Prefecture has also announced its own state of emergency. More prefectures may be added to the list covered by Prime Minister Abe’s declaration or may announce their own COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Please closely monitor trusted local news sources for updates and information.

We strongly encourage all U.S. citizens to comply with measures announced by local authorities, including limiting personal outings, avoiding crowded spaces, and maintaining at least six feet of distance between yourself and others. We also encourage U.S. citizens to follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including recommendations on the use of masks or cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. If your employer has made telework available, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this option.

Suspension of Routine Passport and Citizenship Services

The U.S. Department of State has suspended processing of routine passport and citizenship services. Accordingly, the Embassy and consulates in Japan have canceled all routine passport and citizenship appointments. Until further notice, we are only able to issue limited validity emergency passports. Because of this suspension, we are unable to issue “Consular Reports of Birth Abroad” citizenship documentation for infants and children. However, we can document the child’s citizenship with an emergency passport and strongly encourage families to apply for such documentation.

To request an appointment for an emergency passport, including for an infant or child who has not previously been documented as a U.S. citizen, please contact the Embassy or consulate nearest you for assistance. If you have previously applied for a passport or citizenship service, and are still awaiting receipt of your documents, you should expect significant delays receiving your passport.

Decrease in International Flights

International flights are currently available in Japan, but service has diminished significantly since the COVID-19 outbreak. U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements to do so immediately unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. Travelers using domestic flights to connect in Tokyo for onward travel to the United States should consult their air carriers, as the reduction in Japanese domestic aviation networks is likely to continue. The U.S. government does not anticipate staging repatriation flights in Japan. Direct flights between the U.S. and Japan are currently only available from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. U.S. citizens who reside abroad should avoid all international travel.

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.

All U.S. Mission Japan facilities remain open and staffed, with non-emergency employees actively teleworking. U.S. Mission Japan personnel continue to follow United States and Japanese government recommended practices promoting social distancing and minimizing non-essential travel.

Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel: The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19.

CDC Travel Notice for Japan: On March 21, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 Warning (Avoid Nonessential Travel) for COVID-19 in Japan.

Actions to Take: