Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (April 7, 2020)

Location: Japan
Date: April 7, 2020

Suspension of Routine Passport and Citizenship Services

On April 2, 2020, the U.S Department of State suspended processing of routine passport and citizenship services for U.S. citizens overseas. As of April 8, 2020, and in accordance with this worldwide directive, 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 the State Department’s suspension of processing, we are currently unable to issue Consular Reports of Birth Abroad citizenship documents for infants and children. However, we can document the child’s citizenship with an emergency passport, and we 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 and your citizenship evidence.

State of Emergency in Japan

Certain areas of Japan continue to experience significant increases in COVID-19 cases. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that because of the coronavirus pandemic he intends to declare a state of emergency April 7 for seven prefectures – Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka – for a period of around one month. Please monitor trusted media outlets and refer to Japanese government announcements for up-to-date information on protective measures being taken in the area where you reside.

Residents of Tokyo should check the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates and information in English on 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. Moreover, as of April 10, direct flights between the U.S. and Japan will only be available from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports Travelers currently in Japan seeking return flights 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 possible further decreases in flights 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 will still be allowed to proceed to their onward destinations in other countries, provided they do not attempt to clear immigration. Passengers will not be permitted to transit between airports or transfer from an international flight to a domestic flight.

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.

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:

Assistance: