The Japanese government has declared a “state of emergency” on the 7th of April, 2020. Due to this “state of emergency,” both Japanese citizens and foreign people living in Japan alike will see a lot of affected areas in their daily life. In this article we would like to give some advice as to what foreigners living in Japan should be doing during times like this.
This article will outline the details, time-frame, and areas affected by the newly declared “state of emergency,” as well as what areas of daily life will likely be affected. We will also be detailing some vital information for living in Japan during times like this, and listing some important announcements. If you’re someone living in Japan, you might want to bookmark this article!
What is a “Declaration of a state of emergency?”
The infectious disease novel coronavirus is continuously having a huge effect across the world. On the 7th of April, 2020, the prime minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, declared a “state of emergency” situation to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Japanese government emphasized that this declaration was not a “lockdown” similar to what other countries’ governments were doing; However, to help protect the lives and health of citizens, they are requesting that people do not leave their homes for anything non-essential and for specific non-essential businesses to close temporarily, all of these requests can have a large impact on daily life. Furthermore, to help with the testing of infection and treating those already infected, the strengthening of medical institutions as well as procedures towards the virus is required.
The declaration of a state of emergency allows the government to create a lawful requirement for citizens to stay at home. However, each governing body and private business will have their own special measures they perform in regards to the declaration and request for closure.
Who is affected? And for how long?
The official time limit of the declaration of emergency is just under 1 month starting from the 7th of April and ending on the 6th of May. However, if it is deemed that the state of emergency is no longer required, as stated in article 32, paragraph 5 of the new-type influenza and related diseases prevention special measures law, it can be ended prematurely.
The current areas which are directly targeted by the declaration of emergency are as follows: Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Kanagawa Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture, Hyogo Prefecture, and Fukuoka Prefecture. Furthermore, on the 10th of April, Aichi Prefectural governor declared a personal state of emergency for the prefecture.
※ As of the 16th of April, the areas affected by the declaration of a state of emergency has been increased. The time frame is unchanged and it set to end on the 6th of May ]
※ The Japanese government has decided that the declaration of a state of emergency in the target prefectures will be extended until the 31st of May. (Updated 5th of May 2020)
※ The Japanese government has decided that the declaration of a state of emergency will be lifted in 39 prefectures including Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Gifu, Aichi, and Fukuoka. On the opposite end, some of the more affected prefectures will remain in state of emergency until the 31st of May, these prefectures are Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo. However, some locations may have the restrictions lifted prematurely if deemed fit. (Updated 14th of May 2020)
※ Prime minister Shinzō Abe has declared that the 3 prefectures around the Kinki region, Osaka Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture, and Hyogo Prefecture, will have their lock-down lifted. The remaining 5 prefectures of Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba, will continue to be under lock-down until further notice. (Updated 21st of May 2020)
※ The deceleration of a state of emergency has been lifted for all prefectures across Japan as of the 25th of May 2020. (Updated 25th of May 2020)
How does this affect everyday life?
After the state of emergency was declared, not only Japanese people and foreigners living in Japan, but people currently visiting Japan as tourists as well as many more were affected. But just how are these people affected, what kind of changes will occur? The FUN JAPAN editorial team has put together a few examples.
- ① Large shopping institutions, business districts and restaurants that deal with a lot of customers, entertainment institutions and more of the like will be asked to either close temporarily or shorten their operating hours.
- ② Things such as medical institutions, essential workers, purchasing food / medicinal products, the ability to go outside among other things that relate to living a healthy lifestyle have not been limited. However, the government is requesting that all people avoid leaving their homes for anything unnecessary as well as to avoid going out at night or during their days off.
- ③ To help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a lot of companies are having their staff work from home. For people who still need to go to the office, the government is trying to promote lowering hours. It is recommended to travel to work via things such as bicycles where possible to avoid and lower contact between people to further help stop the spread of the virus.
- ④ Things such as the underground railway system and trains are planned to continue running as normal.
【What we should be doing in times like this】
To protect both your own health as well as the health of the people around you, you should try to stop going outside for anything other than what is absolutely necessary, avoid contact with other people at all costs, and ensure you are always wearing a mask when you need to go outside whilst ensuring to wash your hands both prior to and after leaving your home. There is no need to purchase items in bulk as supermarkets will always be open during the pandemic, simply ensure you are thinking about where you are standing and how you act during these times so you do not put yourself or others in danger!
There are three very important locations you should try to avoid during this pandemic.
- The first is anywhere with bad ventilation.
- The second is anywhere with lots of people.
- The third and final is anywhere you have to speak with someone in close quarters.
The basics for avoiding and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus (Japanese)
If you’re in trouble and need help, use JNTO’s multiple language support service!
In times like these we’re sure a lot of people are feeling quite anxious. But it’s okay! The Japanese National Tourist Office (JNTO) has a multi-language support service to help foreigners in Japan during times of need. You can of course talk to them about information regarding the novel coronavirus!
【When searching for an appropriate medical institution】
For people who are experiencing coughing, sudden fevers, or any other worrisome symptoms and would like to receive medical assistance, we would recommend using JNTO’s website as it has multiple-language support! First, you must select your region, language, and what you would like help with before selecting a supported credit card for payment and pressing the “search” button which will show you a list of medical institutions near you.
Furthermore, JNTO’s website has guides available in English, Chinese, Thai, and Korean languages, meaning almost anyone can use it.
・NTO’s emergency guide website (English):
【What to do during an emergency or disaster】
When you’re not sure what to do during an emergency or a disaster situation, you can call JNTO’s all-year-round 24/7 multiple-language support call center “Japan Visitor Hotline.” You can ask them about anything from a small accident to a natural disaster so please give them a call if you feel the need.
- Phone Number : 050-3816-2728
- Supported Languages : English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese
- Supported Topics include emergency guidance (Sickness / Accidents), guidance for disasters (natural etc.), and general tourism assistance
〈Main consultation outline〉
・I need to cancel my hotel and get a refund but I’m not sure where I should ask?
・I’m coughing and get random fevers which is making me worried I may have the coronavirus and would like to get tested.
There are other residents of a hotel who are coughing and getting fevers.
・NTO Japan Tourist Call Center General Information Document (English, Chinese, Korean):
Latest Information of affected Prefectures / Consultation Window
There are specific consultation windows and information outlets with regards to the novel coronavirus depending on the area. If you are someone who is worried and wishes to check the latest information or talk directly with someone, please use the links below for your respective area.
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (Multiple Languages Available) ：
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (Multiple Languages Available) ：
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (English + Chinese Available) ：
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (Multiple Languages Available) :
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (Japanese + Partial English / Chinese Available) :
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (Japanese only)：
Novel Coronavirus Information Website (English)：
For anyone who’s visa is about to expire! About residency status
If you’re someone who owns a residency card then you must read this! For renewals or changes in residency status, you are able to apply within 3 months after your card has expired during the months of March, April, May, June and July. However, if your card is not about to expire, we ask that you wait until later to request a change/renewal to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
For more details check these links (Updated 12/05/2020)
‣Extension of the period for acceptance of applications and extension of the application examination results in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus(COVID-19)：
‣Ministry of Justice homepage (Japanese)：
※The information in this article is accurate as of the 17th of April 2020. For the latest information, please check the homepage of your local governing body.
- What is a “Declaration of a state of emergency?”
- Who is affected? And for how long?
- How does this affect everyday life?
- If you’re in trouble and need help, use JNTO’s multiple language support service!
- Latest Information of affected Prefectures / Consultation Window
- For anyone who’s visa is about to expire! About residency status