Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Japan further eases domestic restrictions as of July 10. Entry ban on foreign nationals, quarantine requirements remain in place.

  • Alert Begins: 10 Jul 2020 09:58 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry ban, quarantine requirements; possible business disruptions

Japanese officials are further easing internal controls, July 10, amid ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Authorities are allowing public gatherings of up to 5,000 people and permitting patrons to attend professional sporting events. The central government has lifted all travel guidelines on inter-prefectural travel, including into the Tokyo metropolitan region. Authorities have permitted nonessential businesses across the country to reopen, provided they follow instructions to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Although central government statements indicate it is unlikely to reintroduce restrictions, local authorities have not ruled out calling for some businesses to close again and introducing restrictions if reported COVID-19 cases rise significantly in the coming days and weeks. Tokyo is offering nightlife businesses, where many new COVID-19 cases are linked, JPY 500,000 (USD 4680) to close for 10 days or more. Officials in neighboring Kagoshima will offer JPY 300,000 to similar businesses to close for two weeks starting July 15. Local authorities throughout Japan could implement restrictions at the prefectural level. Several local leaders have asked restaurants and bars to limit operating hours. Officials in some areas will continue to require companies to implement social distancing measures.

Transport networks will likely continue normalizing in the coming weeks. Railway companies in most of the country are operating fewer trains amid generally reduced demand, but operators will plan to increase services in the near term, especially on heavily trafficked routes. Physical distancing requirements are in place on most long-distance transport services.

Travel Restrictions
Japan banned foreign nationals with a travel history to 130 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the US, Australia, and all of the European Union, as of July 1. Officials could further expand this list, depending on COVID-19 activity globally. The government requires arriving travelers, including Japanese citizens, to quarantine for 14 days; isolation may take place at a designated facility or at home. Individuals under quarantine orders must refrain from using public transportation. Officials also require all passengers arriving from specified areas to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which involves medical personnel taking a nasopharyngeal swab.

Flights from South Korea and China are only authorized to land at Narita International Airport (NRT) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). Transit flights for foreign nationals are only allowed through NRT. Additional restrictions on international flights remain possible. Flight disruptions will probably continue in the coming weeks, and possibly months, due to decreased demand amid travel restrictions. Authorities have also suspended international passenger ferry services.

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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