Last updated: November 16, 2020
The U.S. Embassy and consulates continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions in Japan. Positive test numbers are rising in many areas of Japan, and Japanese authorities are warning of a third wave of infections.
As we move into the colder months, U.S. citizens are strongly urged to continue to take personal health measures to protect themselves, including socially distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend that U.S. citizens get flu shots to prevent a major flu outbreak. Finally, U.S. citizens should continue to obey measures introduced by Japanese officials designed to mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks in their areas.
Normal services are available throughout the country, including grocery stores, schools/universities, large gatherings, and religious services. Many schools have moved to an online or hybrid system. For specific information, please check with your educational institution. Most retail shops and restaurants are open though may have reduced hours. Large gatherings are restricted in size.
Face masks are almost universally worn in public, especially in urban areas, indoors and on public transportation. U.S. citizens should be aware that failure to adhere to mask-wearing norms reflects poorly on foreign residents.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes, some
- Travel for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted, and there is no indication that this will change in the short term.
- Japanese government travel restrictions remain in place that prevent most U.S. citizens from entering the country. Japan has recently modified its policies, however, to permit some additional categories of travelers. This includes certain business travelers, if their organizations ensure proper pandemic control measures, as well as individuals moving to Japan as residents.
- U.S. citizen residents who departed Japan prior to September 1st should visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to review requirements. A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure to Japan and a certificate from the closest Japanese embassy or consulate will be required.
- U.S. citizen residents departing Japan on/after September 1st must consult with immigration authorities prior to leaving the country and receive similar written documentation in order to return. A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure to Japan will be required. Please see the information from Japan’s Ministry of Justice.
- For complete information on travel restrictions and any possible exceptions, please consult the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Justice. 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 regulations are subject to change with little notice. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travelers denied entry into Japan is extremely limited and travelers denied entry at Japanese ports of entry will likely be immediately reboarded on flights back to the United States.
Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes. A PCR test will be conducted at the airport upon arrival. Prior to granting visas or travel permission from abroad, Japanese embassies and consulates will also require a PCR test.
Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
Visa extensions: 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.
Is a curfew in place? No
Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No
Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes
All travelers entering Japan, including residents and dual national citizens, are required to take a PCR test at the airport and self-quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, travelers may be asked to quarantine at an airport facility until test results return. During the 14 day quarantine period, travelers are not permitted to use any form of public transportation, including taxis, trains, and domestic flights.
COVID-19 testing is primarily conducted by Japanese health officials after referral by a medical provider due to probable or suspected COVID-19 infection. This testing is free. U.S. citizens desiring tests outside of this system can consult with private clinics who may be able to offer the service. Private tests are expensive, and the U.S. citizen will be responsible for payment directly to the clinic.
Are commercial flights operating? Yes
Is public transportation operating? Yes
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 in the previous 14 days.
Below are sources of local COVID-19 information in English. U.S. citizens should closely monitor trusted local news sources and local authorities’ communications for updates and information. This list is not exhaustive:
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government
- Chiba Prefecture
- Saitama Prefecture
- Gifu Prefecture
- Mie Prefecture
- Osaka Prefecture
- Kyoto Prefecture
- Kobe City
- Nagoya City (Aichi Prefecture)
- Fukuoka Prefecture
- Okinawa Prefecture
- Hokkaido Prefecture
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 Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has a dedicated page on COVID-19.
The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has a dedicated COVID-19 page with additional information, including information on how to seek medical care in Japan. JNTO also operates a 24-hour hotline for visitors.
If you are currently in Japan and believe that you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please call JNTO’s hotline at 050-3816-2787.