Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (April 6, 2020)

Location: Japan
Date: April 6, 2020

Certain areas of Japan continue to experience significant increases in COVID-19 cases. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced April 6 that he intends to declare on April 7 a state of emergency regarding the coronavirus pandemic for seven areas of Japan – Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka – for a period of around one month. After the emergency declaration is issued, prefectural governors in the areas designated will have the authority to take emergency measures. Please refer to Japanese government announcements for up-to-date information on protective measures being taken in the area where you reside. U.S. citizens should be aware that U.S. Forces Japan has declared a public health emergency for bases and facilities in the Kanto Plain. Read more here. Residents of Tokyo should check the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates and information in English on COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires issued a video message April 2 to U.S. citizens in Japan in light of the global spread of COVID-19.

Japan Immigration Notice: 90-day Visa Status Extensions

Japan’s immigration authorities announced April 3, 2020 the extension of visitor visas for foreign nationals in Japan for an additional 90 days beyond the initial expiration date. This 90-status extension includes U.S. citizens admitted to Japan for 90 days as temporary visitors (visa waiver). U.S. citizens who want to extend their status in Japan, beyond the initial expiration, may visit an immigration office after their original status expires, but before 90 days after that initial expiration date. Immigration authorities further advise against visiting their offices in person at this time if possible due to crowding. If you are concerned about extending your visa status in Japan, please refer to Japan’s Immigration Services Agency website for guidance.

The Immigration Service Agency is posting updates on new policies in response to COVID-19 on this webpage. Please direct Japan immigration and extension-of-stay in Japan-related questions to Japan’s Immigration Information Center at 0570-013-904 (from overseas +81-3-5796-7112), the nearest immigration office or email: info-tokyo@i.moj.go.jp. Contact information for immigration offices throughout Japan is available here. Policies are changing quickly and Japan’s Immigration Services Agency is the authority on such matters.

Border Control Measures

Japan has barred admission to travelers who have recently visited any country that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has designated “Level 3” for infectious disease concerns, which includes the United States. Travelers from the United States are not permitted to enter Japan and should not board Japan-bound flights. For details and exemptions, please refer to:

  • The Japan National Tourism Organization’s website.
  • An April 3, 2020 Ministry of Justice document that describes “special exceptional circumstances” and specific rules that apply to foreign nationals who are permanent residents of Japan or immediate family members of Japanese citizens.
  • Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on strengthened border control and visa restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

Decrease in International Flights

Only about 10 percent of the pre-COVID-19 commercial flight capacity between Japan and the United States remains in operation. While we cannot predict what will happen next, it is reasonable to expect further reductions in commercial air service in the near- and medium-term. Travelers currently in Japan seeking return flights to the United States, or any U.S. citizens who are considering flying to the United States, are urged to consult with their air carriers on arrangements to depart immediately while commercial flights are still available. U.S. citizens should bear in mind that a decrease in flights to the United States may make it more difficult or even impossible to return to the United States for a family emergency in a timely manner. U.S. citizens who are not planning to return to the United States should be prepared to remain indefinitely in Japan. More generally, U.S. citizens who reside abroad should avoid all international travel.

At this time, Japanese authorities advise that passengers transiting Tokyo’s Narita or Haneda airports without clearing immigration will still be allowed to proceed to their onward destinations in other countries. Passengers will not be permitted to transit between airports or transfer from an international flight to a domestic flight.

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.

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.

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