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

Location: Japan
Date: July 17, 2020
State of COVID-19 Measures in Japan

The U.S. Embassy continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan closely. In response to higher infection rates in Tokyo over the past week, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government raised its COVID-19 alert status to red on July 16, the highest on the four-tiered scale. This alert indicates that the virus is spreading in Tokyo and the surrounding area. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has also indicated an increased strain on local healthcare capacity. Many of Tokyo’s recent positive cases are connected to nightlife and theaters; however, an increasing number of infections are untraceable. Other prefectures, including Osaka, are also experiencing a spike in the number of confirmed cases. The uptick in positive cases in Osaka has been attributed to exposures in nightlife establishments, with most of the recent infections occurring in people ages 20-49.

Tokyo Governor Koike has urged residents to avoid restaurants and other service establishments that lack proper infection-control and social distancing measures. She has also asked that residents refrain from non-urgent travel to other prefectures. Some prefectural governments in other parts of Japan are urging their citizens to refrain from non-essential travel to Tokyo.

U.S. citizens in Japan are strongly urged to comply with all guidelines issued by central and local government authorities, and to monitor carefully local media for updates on infection rates and mitigation efforts in their area.

International travel restrictions previously instituted by the Government of Japan remain in place. U.S. citizens, including those with resident status in Japan, generally remain prohibited from entering the country under the current travel restrictions. The Government of Japan published information regarding exemptions to its entry restrictions, which is available here.

U.S. citizens residing in Japan should carefully review the government’s restrictions before embarking on international travel. Individuals who believe their travel may fall under the Government of Japan’s published exemptions should carry documentation about their purpose of travel with them and consult with immigration officers regarding reentry to Japan prior to departing the country.

Several U.S. Forces Japan installations have reinstituted stringent health protection measures to protect both their personnel and local populations.

Routine Passport, Citizenship, and Visa Service Limitations

The U.S. Department of State is beginning to resume a very limited number of routine visa and passport services. Routine appointments remain suspended in Tokyo and Sapporo. For specific information please check our website for visas and American Citizen Services.

Effective immediately, online payment for mail-in adult U.S. passport renewal is available in Japan. For information, please see our website.

U.S. citizens and visa applicants who are granted appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or any U.S. consulate in Japan must wear masks upon entering the premises and are prohibited from entering these facilities if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to anyone known to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Resources in Japan

Japanese immigration officials have extended the period of application for certain types of visa extensions and residency applications; increased the waiting time for decisions in certain cases; extended visa validity for visitors whose period of stay expired in March through July; and, have announced new measures to reduce congestion in waiting rooms. More information can be found online here.

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. Callers should note that the initial recording is in Japanese, but if you hold the line you can be assisted in English.

The Government of Japan launched a Foreign Resident Support Center, located at: Yotsuya Tower 13/F, 1-6-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 106-0004.

The center is open from 9:00 to 5:00 on weekdays, and provides consultations in several languages, including English. Eight organizations participate in the center, including the Immigration Services Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Tokyo Labor Bureau.

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: