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Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (May 10, 2021)
May 10, 2021

Location: Japan
Date: May 10, 2021

Third State of Emergency Extended, Expanded

The Government of Japan extended the national state of emergency declaration covering Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto prefectures. In addition, Fukuoka and Aichi prefectures have been added to the declaration. Hokkaido, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gifu, Mie, Ehime, and Okinawa are now designated as under modified states of emergency to curb increasing infection rates and diminishing health care capacity. These declarations remain effective through May 31st and may be extended again. Some prefectures are declaring their own additional states of emergency. Preventative measures may vary between prefectures. There may be additional closure requests and COVID-19 mitigation measures put into place with little notice. U.S. citizens should carefully monitor local news and follow instructions from national and local authorities.

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in many parts of Japan, not just those included in the most recent state of emergency declaration, and many areas are experiencing record case numbers to include serious or severe cases. The prevalence of new COVID-19 strains is also increasing around the country. The Government of Japan continues to urge residents to take all possible precautions against the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, mask wearing, and avoiding crowded areas. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to monitor local news for updates to guidance for their area and comply with all local and national COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Tokyo: Tokyo’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to grow, with 1,032 cases confirmed on Sunday, May 9. Tokyo Governor Koike is calling on department stores and bowling alleys to remain closed, in addition to previously announced restrictions including those on restaurants and bars. She continues to call on residents to remain home, avoid unnecessary outings, and take all possible measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The prefectures surrounding Tokyo have been placed under a quasi-state of emergency, reflecting the Government of Japan’s concern that the virus is spreading throughout the region.

Osaka-Kobe: The Kansai region, including Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto Prefectures, continues to have among the highest incidence of new COVID-19 cases in Japan with hospitals and critical care medical resources now strained beyond capacity. In addition to the state of emergency measures listed above, local governments in all three prefectures have asked people to avoid unnecessary trips across prefectural borders. Up-to-date official information is available through auto translation at the prefectural links above.

Sapporo: The Government of Japan formally approved a request by Hokkaido Prefecture Governor Suzuki to declare a quasi-state of emergency for Hokkaido in response to a steep increase in COVID-19 infections, most of which are occurring within the City of Sapporo.

The Hokkaido Prefectural Government has instituted various measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, including: 1) asking residents to refrain from non-essential outings within the City of Sapporo, 2) asking residents refrain from travel between Sapporo and other locations, 3) asking Sapporo bars, restaurants, and large businesses such as department stores and amusement parks to refrain from serving alcohol and to close by 8 pm, 4) adjusting Sapporo subway and streetcar schedules so that last trains are earlier in the evening, and 5) closing temporarily many public city and prefectural facilities in Sapporo.

For the full list of Hokkaido Prefectural Government measures in Japanese, please click here. For COVID-19 information in English provided by the Hokkaido International Exchange and Cooperation Center (HIECC) please click here. (Note that it can take some days for HIECC to fully translate and post government announcements.)

Naha: The Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) is currently implementing “Priority Measures to Prevent the Spread of Disease,” now extended until May 31. For details on these measures and some of the recent expansions, please see the OPG website here, with official English translation for the prior extension available here. SOFA status members should also continue to follow their relevant base command restrictions.

Fukuoka: Fukuoka prefecture is currently over 65 percent hospital capacity and is experiencing a record number of cases. The prefectural government is urging compliance with the following actions: 1) Remain Indoors. Don’t leave the house or travel unless for essential activities, especially after 8 p.m. Do not travel between prefectures and even within Fukuoka Prefecture where there are high numbers of COVID-19 cases unless absolutely essential. 2) Follow Preventative Measures – 3C’s 3) Restricted Business Hours for Food and Other Service Providers. Establishments that serve alcohol are asked to remain closed during the state of emergency. If a business does not provide alcohol or karaoke facilities, their business hours should be restricted to between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. This includes food stalls but excludes delivery and takeout services.

More Information: If you are unsure of where to call or have any worries about the virus, call the COVID-19 Hotline for advice: 092-687-5357 (24-hour service). Please monitor this website for updated information.

Five other prefectures in Kyushu are reporting record numbers of COVID-19 cases. Oita prefecture’s hospital bed occupancy rate exceeds 50%, while Miyazaki and Nagasaki prefectures implemented their own states of emergency beginning on May 11 through the end of the month. Other prefectures in Kyushu may implement their own emergency measures.

The U.S. Embassy and consulates are open for routine services, but appointment availability remains limited. To schedule an appointment, visit our website for instructions.

U.S. Mission Japan personnel continue to follow practices endorsed and requested by the U.S. and Japanese Governments, including social distancing and mask wearing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. United States Forces Japan bases have instituted a number of restrictions based on local conditions in response to their declared Public Health Emergency. Many restrictions are specific to individual bases or areas. For more information, please contact base command officials.

COVID-19 Vaccination Updates in Japan

The Japanese government continues to vaccinate front-line medical personnel and citizens age 65 and over. The Japanese government published an English language website about the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, NHK published English language information on the vaccine rollout and inoculation process on their website. Municipalities are providing the vaccine with the guidance of the central government. The Japanese government has publicly committed to including foreign residents in its vaccination program. U.S. citizens are urged to review carefully the available information, and monitor news for further updates. For assistance regarding vaccine appointment scheduling, please contact your municipal government offices. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has also established a multilingual telephone hotline: 0120-565653. English is available from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

COVID-19 Testing for Travel to the United States

All air travelers to the United States are required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to boarding their flight. U.S. citizens are subject to this rule. Any travelers, including U.S. citizens, who do not show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 will not be permitted to board their flight. A list of some COVID-19 testing facilities can be found on the Embassy website. This list is not comprehensive.

U.S. military and SOFA status travelers should consult with their chain of command prior to commencing travel.

Being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 does not exempt any traveler from the requirement to receive a negative PCR test no more than three days before boarding a flight to the United States.

Continued Restrictions for Travel to Japan

The Government of Japan continues to enforce strict travel regulations that bar most new foreigners from entering into Japan. Foreign tourists and non-resident foreign business travelers remain prohibited from entering Japan. Japanese citizens and foreign residents with a reentry permit are generally allowed to reenter Japan but must comply with strict pre- and post- travel testing requirements and quarantine upon arrival. Regardless of the international point of origin, all travelers entering Japan remain subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival and are prohibited from using public transportation to include domestic flights, taxis, and rail. Travelers arriving from certain areas may be required to quarantine for a period of time in a government-designated location. Travelers arriving without proof of pre-travel COVID-19 testing, or tests completed more than 72 hours in advance of departure may be denied entry into Japan.

The Government of Japan designated Tennessee, Florida, Minnesota, and Michigan as areas with confirmed spread of COVID-19 variants. Travelers who have been present in these areas for the 14 days preceding their arrival into Japan will be required to quarantine in a Government of Japan-provided facility for at least three days before being permitted to finish their self-quarantine period at home.

U.S. military and SOFA status personnel should speak with their command about upcoming travel, COVID-19 testing, and any restriction of movement (ROM)/quarantine requirements.

All travelers inbound to Japan must receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure. These tests must be presented in the prescribed format and must comply with very strict requirements. For information, please see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Failure to complete the prescribed form as required by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare may result in being denied entry to Japan.

Vaccination status has no impact on an individual’s eligibility to travel to Japan, and Japan’s quarantine restrictions apply regardless of vaccination status.

Travelers seeking to transit Japan en route to onward international destinations may continue to do so without quarantine as long as the transit occurs within the same airport and no overnight stay is required.

For information on Japan’s updated travel restrictions, please see these websites:

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizens considering travel to Japan to review carefully the information available from the Government of Japan.

Please note: These complex regulations are subject to change with little notice. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travelers denied boarding at their point of embarkation or denied entry upon arrival to Japan is extremely limited, and those travelers denied entry at Japanese ports of entry will likely be immediately reboarded on flights back to the United States.

For questions regarding the government of Japan’s travel restrictions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides contact information in Section Five of this website.

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