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Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (April 17, 2020)
April 17, 2020

Location: Japan

State of Emergency in Japan

On April 16, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded the Government of Japan’s state of emergency declaration to cover the entire country. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise across Japan, notably in prefectures not included in the original declaration. The declaration will last through at least May 6. The prime minister outlined measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and asked people to avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings. He also called on people to avoid non-essential outings and reduce person-to-person contact by at least 70-80 percent in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The prime minister has also now asked that residents refrain from crossing prefectural borders for non-essential travel. This may further reduce the availability of domestic transportation, including aviation, rail, and mass transit networks.

Specific measures taken under the state of emergency will vary by prefecture, as the prefectural governors will issue instructions and requests. Below are sources of local COVID-19 information in English. This list is not exhaustive:

U.S. citizens should closely monitor trusted local news sources and local authorities’ communications for updates and information.

On April 15, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan declared a public health emergency for all of Japan, expanding on a prior declaration covering the Kanto plains region. The declaration will remain in place until May 15, unless it is renewed or terminated early by the commander.

We strongly encourage all U.S. citizens to comply with measures under the state of emergency announced by local authorities, including limiting non-essential outings, avoiding crowded spaces such as public transportation during peak hours, using masks or cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, and maintaining at least six feet of distance between yourself and others.

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.

U.S. Mission Japan staff have been advised to avoid public transportation during peak hours, and to follow Government of Japan guidance to refrain from crossing prefectural borders unless absolutely necessary.

Decrease in International Flights

International flights are currently available in Japan, but service continues to diminish. Only 6 percent of pre-COVID capacity between Japan and the United States (including Guam) remains in service, and further reductions are scheduled. Direct flights between the U.S. and Japan are currently only available from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. Due to a severe reduction in international flight availability, Haneda’s Terminal 1 North Wing is closed.

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. The U.S. government does not anticipate staging repatriation flights in Japan. U.S. citizens who reside abroad should avoid all international travel.

Suspension of Routine Passport and Citizenship Services

The U.S. Department of State has suspended processing of routine passport and citizenship services. 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 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, please contact the Embassy or consulate nearest you for assistance.

Resources in Japan

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.

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: