Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Japan extends coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related state of emergency through May 31. Domestic restrictions continue.

This alert affects Japan

This alert began 04 May 2020 12:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport disruptions, movement restrictions; likely business disruptions

Summary
The Japanese government has extended the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related state of emergency through May 31. The state of emergency empowers governors to request that residents limit movement to only essential activity, though restrictions may vary by location. Under the state of emergency, authorities can also require companies to implement social distancing measures, and governors can close educational institutions, childcare facilities, and entertainment venues. Officials could potentially demand that suppliers sell food, medicine, and other goods to the government, and requisition land. Although local governments cannot enforce movement restrictions with criminal penalties, compliance with government demands is likely to be generally high. As of May 4, the measures do not impact public transport, utilities, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, banks, or post offices. Authorities have stated that they will consider lifting the state of emergency before May 31 in areas experiencing fewer COVID-19 cases.

In Tokyo, where restrictions are most widespread, authorities have requested that entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gyms, public pools, and nightclubs, close. Officials have also asked restaurants and bars to limit operating hours. Kanagawa Prefecture has adopted the same measures in a bid to reduce travel between the prefecture and Tokyo. Saitama and Chiba prefectures are mostly following similar restrictions. Osaka and Fukuoka have also requested business closures. People in many cities continue to go to offices, despite central government calls to increase telecommuting.

Additional International Travel Restrictions

In addition to the travel bans on foreign nationals with recent travel history in designated countries and territories, the government requires that travelers entering the country, including Japanese nationals, undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The isolation period may take place either at a designated facility or the individual's home. Individuals under quarantine orders are also to refrain from using public transportation. Inbound travel bans on specific countries and quarantine measures upon arrival will remain in place through at least the end of May, but extensions are possible.

Flights from South Korea and China are only authorized to land at Narita International Airport (NRT) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). Additional restrictions on international flights are possible in the coming days. Even in the absence of further official control measures, flight disruptions will probably continue in the coming weeks, and possibly months, due to severely decreased demand. Authorities have also suspended international passenger ferry services.

Japanese officials have issued international travel bans to foreign nationals who have traveled to 89 countries as of May 4. Foreigners with recent travel history in countries such as China, Korea, Australia, the US, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Turkey, and Egypt are barred from entering Japan. Any foreigners who have been to the designated countries and territories within the last 14 days cannot enter Japan. Officials also require all passengers arriving from specified areas to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which involves medical personnel taking a nasopharyngeal swab, upon arrival. Authorities could expand such policies to cover additional areas at short notice, depending on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity.

Numerous national governments have raised their alert levels for Japan and are advising their citizens against nonessential travel to the country due to COVID-19 activity. Some governments have banned foreign nationals with recent travel history in Japan from entering their countries. Additional travel restrictions to and from Japan are possible in the coming days and weeks.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Postpone travel if affected by an entry ban. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Confirm international flight reservations. Closely monitor national travel advisories, as additional restrictions to and from Japan are likely. Consider telecommuting options for staff. Make allowances for likely increased employee absenteeism and related business disruptions.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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