Here are the latest updates from Japan and beyond on the coronavirus outbreak:


As of 11 p.m., Thursday, April 16 (Japan time)

  • A city assembly in eastern Japan approved an ordinance Thursday urging residents to wear face masks to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus, a first for the country.
  • A popular tourist city in Japan urged sightseers on Thursday to refrain from visiting for the time being, due to growing concerns from residents over the potential spread of the coronavirus
  • Taiwan on Thursday donated 2 million face masks to Japan for provision to frontline medical personnel to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Foreign Ministry
  • Cloth masks started arriving at post offices in Tokyo on Thursday under a controversial Japanese government program for their universal distribution to help contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to declare a nationwide state of emergency in an attempt to prevent the further spread of the new coronavirus in Japan, a government official said Thursday.
  • Japan plans to pay a one-off cash handout of 100,000 yen to all citizens regardless of income levels as part of measures to help them cushion the fallout from the spread of the new coronavirus, officials said Thursday.
  • While healthcare providers are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic fight, the deathcare industry is bracing for action behind the frontlines, hoping to retain as much of a human touch as possible as virus fatalities mount.
  • Sake breweries across Japan have begun producing high-alcohol content liquids for use in place of the alcohol-based sanitizers that have become as scarce as face masks during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Japan is considering expanding the list of prefectures covered by the government’s state of emergency declaration over the coronavirus outbreak, with Kyoto among the candidates, an official said Thursday.
  • The United States has likely passed the peak in new coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump said Wednesday as he pushes to bring the nation’s shutdown-hit economy back to life.
  • The Japanese government’s cautious approach to broadening coronavirus testing has created a dilemma for people who suspect they have been exposed to the virus and are choosing to stay at a hotel at their own expense.
  • The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday expressed regret over President Donald Trump’s decision to halt U.S. funding for the U.N. agency, while remaining tight-lipped about the precise financial impacts of the move on WHO operations.
  • Finance chiefs of the Group of 20 major economies said Wednesday they agreed on debt relief for developing countries until the end of the year to help them take measures against the new coronavirus outbreak.

List of shops closed in Tokyo following emergency declaration

As of 11 p.m., Wednesday, April 15 (Japan time)

  • Dish soap and other household cleaning products are likely to be effective in disinfecting for the novel coronavirus, Japan’s industry ministry said Wednesday.
  • Beverage maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday it will start providing alcohol disinfectants free of charge from later this month to hospitals to help address the shortage caused by the new coronavirus outbreak.
  • The number of foreign visitors to Japan tumbled 93 percent in March from a year earlier, marking the biggest rate of decline for any month since 1964 when comparable data became available, amid the global coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.
  • The Japanese government is considering whether to extend 100,000 yen ($933) each to all people regardless of income as part of efforts to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, officials said Wednesday.
  • The Japanese government’s task force tracking group infections of the new coronavirus stressed the need Wednesday to reduce human-to-human contact to contain the epidemic, saying 420,000 people could die if preventive measures are not taken.
  • The spread of the novel coronavirus and a government request to the public to refrain from going outside has added to the predicament of many teenage girls in Japan who have left home due to abuse, poverty or other reasons.
  • An opposition lawmaker has offered to resign from his party, after admitting he visited a Tokyo hostess bar despite the capital being under a state of emergency to curb the spread of coronavirus, a senior party official said Wednesday.

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Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan

  • NEW! AMDA Medical Information Center’s “Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding COVID-19
    (April 10~May 20, 2020)
    – Available in English, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
    – Available in English and Chinese on weekdays only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s COVID-19 info
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s hotline
    – Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Available via fax for those with hearing impairments
  • Japan National Tourism Organization’s “Guide for when you are feeling ill”
    Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese
  • JNTO’s “Japan Visitor Hotline
    – Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
    (from overseas)
  • Japan’s health ministry hotline
    – Available in Japanese only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • World Health Organization’s “Q&A on coronaviruses

(Chitose, Japan)