As of October 21, 2020, the novel coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, has infected 41,167,386 people and caused 1,131,289 deaths in 213 countries and regions. While statistics show that approximately 80% of infected patients have mild or no symptoms, the nature of the virus is still largely unknown, which is why it is crucial to stay informed and strive to prevent yourself from contracting the virus and/or unconsciously spreading it to other people.
On this page, Tokyo Weekender provides essential information for foreign residents, including daily updates and a summary of Japanese news and governmental policies. If you have any specific Covid-19-related questions, leave us a comment and we will address it in our next update.
- October 21, 2020: Daily News Updates
- Past updates
- How do I receive my ¥100,000 from the government?
- COVID-19: Japan Statistics
- COVID-19: Basic Information, Where to call, How to protect yourself
- What to do if you think you may have been infected?
- What to do to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID-19
- COVID-19 multilingual hotlines in Japan
- On Wednesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Wednesday reported 150 new cases of the coronavirus, up 11 from Tuesday.
- Japan relaxed its rule limiting the size of crowds at professional sports, concerts and other events as of Sept 19, lifting the 5,000-person cap on large events and instead, allowing venues to hold up to 50 percent of their capacity.
- The Tokyo metropolitan government ended its policy of asking establishments serving alcohol in the capital’s central 23 wards to close by 10 p.m.
- The metropolitan government also lowered its virus alert by one notch from the highest of four levels, which means “infections are spreading.”
- Japan resumed short-term business travel with Singapore from Sept 18. This is the first time that the country has decided to allow the entry of businesspeople without requiring a 14-day self-isolation period amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Japanese government has lifted coronavirus-related re-entry restrictions on foreign residents from Sept 1. Re-entry will be permitted for visa holders, including permanent residents and exchange students, on condition that they undergo coronavirus testing and quarantine for 14 days, the same policy that applies to Japanese citizens re-entering the country. Read more details here.
- The government added Tokyo to its Go To Travel tourism support campaign from October 1. As of present (Oct 21) nearly one in four people in Japan have used the campaign to travel domestically.
COVID-19: Japan Statistics
- Confirmed cases: 94,626* (+612 from previous day)
- In critical condition: 150
- Deaths: 1,687 (+7 from previous day)
- Discharged from hospitals: 87,107
- Highest number of confirmed cases in Japan per prefecture (top 5): Tokyo: 29,335
(+150), Osaka: 11,702 (+82), Kanagawa: 8,099 (+88), Aichi: 5,761 (+36), Saitama: 5,473 (+50),
- Prefectures where no coronavirus cases have been confirmed: None
*Including returnees from China on chartered planes and passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise who were confirmed with COVID-19 positive after their return home. The numbers exclude cases confirmed onboard Diamond Princess. Data as of October 21, 2020, 8 p.m.
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Most important Covid-19 updates from Japan (April 2020~)
- The government announced that 98.6 percent of households in Japan have received the ¥100,000 cash handouts by the end of August.
- Japan’s economy in the April-June period shrank an annualized 27.8 percent, the sharpest contraction on record.
- On Aug 9, anti-mask supporters gathered for a “Cluster Protest” outside Shibuya Station. Participants, among whom mothers with babies and toddlers, were all unmasked, holding up placards that read “Masks, Social Distancing, The ‘Three Cs’, Self-restraint Not Necessary.” The gathering was organized by politician Masayuki Hiratsuka, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in the July Tokyo Gubernatorial Election. His campaign slogan was “Coronavirus is just a cold.”
- Japan’s government has begun accepting applications from foreign residents seeking re-entry to Japan who have valid visa statuses and had left Japan before the entry ban was imposed. To re-enter, they will be required to provide proof that they have taken a PCR test within 72 hours before their flight. They must also obtain documents confirming their re-entry permission from their local Japanese Embassy, take a PCR test and self-isolation upon arrival, and use the government-sponsored Covid-19 tracking app.
- The governor of Osaka Prefecture, Hirofumi Yoshimura, held a press conference on Tuesday, August 4, announcing that studies have revealed that gargle medicine can fight coronavirus. He based the discovery on limited trial on a group of 41 patients with mild symptoms. The data showed that gargling with diluted povidone-iodine four times a day reduced the number of those testing positive to 9.5 percent after four days.
- Following Yoshimura’s press conference, gargle medicines sold out in most drugstores across the country. On the popular fleamarket app Merucari, gargle medicines were sold for nearly ¥8,000 whereas they typically cost a few hundred yen.
- Yoshimura held a second press conference the day after to clarify that he didn’t meant that gargle medicine can “cure or prevent” coronavirus.
- Concerns over further spread of the virus are growing as the central government launched its controversial “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign on July 22, with Tokyo excluded due to recent spikes in new infections. The campaign partially covers domestic travel expenses in a bid to encouraging people to travel and spend locally.
- The health ministry will conduct its first nationwide coronavirus-linked mental health survey, possibly as early as next month. The purpose of the survey is to look into how the coronavirus pandemic has affected mental health and is expected to cover a sample number of 10,000 people.
- On July 15, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government lifted the capital’s coronavirus alert level to the fourth — and highest — of a four-level coronavirus alert system. At a press conference, Gov Yuriko Koike said, “We are in a situation where we should issue warnings to citizens and businesses.”
- The first two coronavirus infections in Iwate, the only prefecture in Japan that hadn’t confirmed any Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, were confirmed on Wednesday, July 29.
- The Japanese government has released a free smartphone coronavirus-tracking app (for IOS devices, for Android devices) that alerts users when they may have been in close proximity to someone infected with the coronavirus. According to the government, the app will collect contact data when users come within a certain distance of each other. When users who have tested positive for the coronavirus register their information, other users who had come within a meter of that person for at least 15 minutes, will be notified. The app, which was initially supposed to be released in early May, will not record data that could identify individuals.
- The EU has lifted travel restrictions for visitors from 15 countries outside the bloc, including Japan.
- Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea reopened on July 1 after closing for over four months due to the pandemic.
- International travel restrictions will be eased for people visiting Japan for business purposes from four countries — Thailand, New Zealand, Vietnam and Australia — under certain conditions. Those include the submission of a written medical proof that one has tested Covid-19 negative and a detailed itinerary for their stay while in Japan. The restrictions are eased only for traveling for business purposes.
- The public approval rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet fell to its lowest in about two years, reflecting dissatisfaction with the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The head of the WHO called Japan’s efforts in tackling the spread of the new coronavirus a “success.” He also said, however, that it’s important to continue the practice of social distancing and other basic precautionary measures.
- Inbound travelers to Japan for the month of April have decreased by 99.9% in comparison to last year, according to data released by the Japan Tourism Agency.
- Japan’s Immigration Services Agency announced that it will give foreign nationals with periods of stay expiring in July a three-month extension to renew.
- The government has announced plans to provide up to ¥1 million in subsidies to farmers who have suffered financial damages due to the coronavirus.
- The government announced plans to provide ¥100,000 to some 400,000 university students in Japan whose income from part-time jobs had been affected due to the virus epidemic.
- Shobushi, a 28-year-old sumo wrestler has died after contracting coronavirus and suffering multiple organ failure.
- Restaurant chain Royal Holdings announced that it will be closing 70 of its stores, including family restaurant Royal Host and fast tempura chain Tenya, by the end of 2020 as a result of declining profit caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
- A total of 142 domestic companies have filed for bankruptcy as a result of financial damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak since February. The majority of those companies are in the hotel, restaurants, or fashion business.
- Japan’s government has received the worst public rating for their response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a global survey.
- Many universities in Japan are implementing or are considering measures to financially help their students amid the coronavirus outbreak. Among them are Dokkyo University, which is set to provide ¥100,000 to its approximately 8,600 students, Hiroshima University has begun to provide ¥30,000 to students and Waseda University will offer ¥100,000 to students struggling to pay living expenses. Many other university have allocated a budget to provide ¥10,000 to ¥50,000 to each student.
- The government will provide ¥100,000 to all residents in Japan, including foreigners, as financial support for damages caused by the coronavirus outbreak. While everyone is eligible to receive the amount, people will still have to apply online to receive it. Read details about how to apply in the section above.
- Coronavirus-related cases of discrimination and prejudice are on the rise throughout Japan. Among those cases are such of children of medical and delivery company staff who are being excluded from day care because of fear of contracting the virus.
- Police said that 15 people whose deaths were treated as accidents or incidents from mid-March to April 22 had tested positive for COVID-19 posthumously. Among the deceased were people who had collapsed on the street.
- The Tokyo Municipal Government will provide financial compensation of up to ¥500,000 to single-operating businesses that have suffered financial loss due to the corona outbreak.
- The government will increase Japan’s monthly child allowance by ¥10,000 per child to support families affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
- The funeral of beloved Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, who passed away from COVID-19 on March 29, was held on April 11 and 12th. Only close relatives attended, his agency said on Monday.
Haven’t received your ¥100,000 from the government?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the government will be making a one-time ¥100,000 cash payment to every resident of Japan in order to help alleviate some of the economic pressure caused by the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Learn all about how to claim your payment from this article.
COVID-19: Basic Information, Where to call, How to protect yourself
The most common symptoms associated with COVID-19 are fever, cough, fatigue, phlegm, shortness of breath, sore throats and headaches. In some cases, people infected with the virus may feel pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
What to do if you think you may have been infected?
If you’ve had the following symptoms for four days continuously (two days for pregnant women, senior residents and people with other health conditions):
- Common cold symptoms
- Fever of above 37.5℃ or higher
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty breathing
➤ Call 03-5320-4592. For support in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Thai, call the Tokyo Health Care Information Center (Himawari) at 03-5285-8181 (Hours: 9am–8pm, daily).
- Been in direct contact with a person infected with COVID-19 and have a fever or respiratory symptoms
- Traveled to a country that has reported COVID-19 cases or been in contact with a person who has, and have a fever of 37.5 or higher and respiratory problems
➤ Call the Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 0120-5656-53 (9am–9pm) (Free dial but consultation is offered only in Japanese.)
The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has a multilingual coronavirus hotline in English, Chinese and Korean which is available 24 hours a day. The number is 050-3816-2787.
For other inquiries, including anxiety related to COVID-19, call the Tokyo Novel Coronavirus Call Center (Support in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese) at 0570-550-571.
In all cases, after consultation over the phone, a doctor will determine whether you need to undergo a PCR test. If the doctor requests that you undergo a PCR test, wear a mask and refrain from using public transport on your way to the hospital. Those who test positive are admitted to a hospital with a specialist infectious disease ward. Those who test negative are advised to rest at home and go to a general hospital if needed.
What to do to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID-19
- Wash your hands well with antibacterial agents and soap
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid crowded places
- Maintain at least 1-meter distance when talking to people
- Avoid using public transportation during rush hours
- Work from home if possible
- Wipe surfaces before using them: carts at shopping malls and supermarkets, tables at restaurants, door knobs at public places, etc. Carry a portable sterilizer.
- Wear a mask. Masks may not directly protect you from the virus, but they can limit the chance of spreading/contracting the virus.
- If you don’t have a mask, cough in your sleeve or in a handkerchief
- Avoid going out at night, to karaoke parlors, bars and any other indoor facilities with poor ventilation
COVID-19 multilingual hotlines in Japan
- Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Center Himawari (03-5285-8181) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Thai
- Saitama: (048-833-3296) Support in: English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese and easy Japanese
- Gunma: (027-289-8275) English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.
- Ishikawa: (076-222-5950) Through the Ishikawa Foundation for International Exchange. Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Russian. The service is available on weekdays, from 9:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
- Nagano: (0120-691-792)Through the Nagano Multilingual Call Center. Service available in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Nepali, Tagalog, Malay, Myanmar, Khmer
- Gifu: (058-263-8066) Support in: English, Chinese, Portuguese, Tagalog
- Aichi: Call via Aichi Now by clicking the blue button. It connects to Aichi’s Multilingual Call Center. English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish for 24 hours.
- Mie: (080-3300-8077) Support in: English, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepalese, Indonesian and Thai
- Shiga: (077-523-5646) Support in: English, Chinese, Portuguese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Nepalese, Korean, Spanish, Russian and Hindi
- Kyoto: (075-343-9666) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Portuguese and Spanish
- Osaka: (06-6941-2297) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, Indonesian and Nepalese
- Hyogo: (078-382-2052) Support in: English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese
- Wakayama: (073-435-5240) Support in: English, Chinese and Tagalog
- Hiroshima: (0120-783-806) Support in: English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Portuguese, Indonesian, Thai, Spanish and Nepalese
- Yamaguchi: (092-687-6639) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, Tagalog, Indonesian, Portuguese, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Malay, Burmese and Khmer
- Fukuoka: (092-286-9595) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, Tagalog, Indonesian, Portuguese, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Malay, Burmese and Khmer
- Kumamoto: (080-4275-4489) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepalese, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, Malay, French, Russian, German, Italian, Burmese, Khmer and Mongolian. Services available on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
- Miyazaki: (0985-41-5901) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog, Nepalese, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Myanmar, Mongolian and Khmer. Calls accepted between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
- Okinawa: (0570-050-235) Support in: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Thai.
- Hokkaido: (011-200-9595) Support in: English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, Russian, Nepalese, Indonesian and Burmese
For more in-depth articles on the coronavirus outbreak, see Tokyo Weekender’s COVID-19-dedicated section, here.