Date: May 17, 2021
Third State of Emergency Expanded
The Government of Japan expanded the national state of emergency declaration, which now covers Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Okayama, and Hiroshima prefectures. In addition, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gifu, Mie, Ehime, Okinawa, Gunma, Ishikawa, and Kumamoto 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 31, with the exception of those in Gunma, Ishikawa, and Kumamoto which remain in place until June 13, and may be extended again. Some prefectures are declaring their own additional states of emergency. 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, and many areas are experiencing record case numbers to include serious or severe cases.
The prevalence of new and more easily transmissible 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 Governor Koike continues to call on a wide range of businesses to close or significantly reduce their hours. She also 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 varying modified states of emergency, reflecting the Government of Japan’s concern that the virus is spreading throughout the region. The Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation TSUNAGARI, which supports foreign residents in Tokyo, provides information regarding requests to Tokyo residents during the state of emergency in 16 languages on its website.
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.
Nagoya: Aichi Prefecture has tightened restrictions on travel and nightlife. Residents are urged not to travel to across prefectural borders, including to neighboring Mie and Gifu Prefectures, except to commute to jobs or school. Authorities have requested that restaurants across the prefecture close at 8 p.m. and stop serving alcohol until the end of the state of emergency on May 31. Karaoke establishments have been asked to close through that period. The decision to add Aichi to the state of emergency was made by the national government in response to mounting pressure on the prefecture’s health care system. Aichi publishes COVID-related updates in Japanese at this website (auto-translate into English and other languages available via drop-down menu at top right of page).
Sapporo: Hokkaido Prefecture is currently experiencing a record number of COVID-19 cases, and Hokkaido’s medical care system is under strain. Infection prevention measures announced by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government coinciding with the state of emergency declaration include: 1) asking residents to refrain from non-essential outings, particularly after 8pm and all day on weekends, 2) asking residents to refrain from inter-prefectural travel, 3) asking bars, restaurants, and large businesses such as department stores and amusement parks to refrain from serving alcohol and to close early, 4) asking employers to maximize telework and alternative work-hour options to reduce congestion on public transportation.
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.
Naha, Okinawa: 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 extension available here. SOFA status members should also continue to follow their relevant base command restrictions.
Fukuoka: Fukuoka prefecture is currently over 73 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 the 3C’s. 3) Restricted business hours for food and other service
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 also monitor the Fukuoka Prefecture website for updated information.
All other prefectures in Kyushu are reporting record numbers of COVID-19 cases, and have implemented restrictions to contain the growth of cases. Please refer to the website of your local prefecture for guidance and important information:
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 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, including the opening of mass vaccination centers. For assistance regarding vaccine appointment scheduling, please contact your municipal government offices. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has also established a multilingual vaccine call center: 0120-761770.
The U.S. government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
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 chains 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 the country. Foreign tourists and non-resident foreign business travelers remain prohibited. 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:
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Phased Measures for Resuming Cross-Border Travel
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Application for Visa for Foreign Nationals Eligible for Phase Measures toward Resuming Cross-Border Travel
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Border Enforcement Measures to Prevent the Spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Ministry of Justice: Information Related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from Immigration Service Agency
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.
- U.S. Embassy Tokyo
Telephone: 03-3224-5000, After-Hours: 03-3224-5000
- U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe
- U.S. Consulate Nagoya
- U.S. Consulate Fukuoka
- U.S. Consulate General Sapporo
- U.S. Consulate General Naha
- State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747