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


As of 11:00 p.m., Friday, April 17 (Japan time)

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Friday to deliver 100,000 yen ($933) in cash to all citizens in Japan “as soon as possible” as his declaration of a nationwide state of emergency will curb people’s freedoms amid the new coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Michael Leitch, Japan’s captain at the last two Rugby World Cups, on Friday urged people to act responsibly and defeat the current coronavirus pandemic as one team.
  • Two-time defending Olympic men’s figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu joined other athletes on Friday in a social media public service campaign promoted by the Japanese Olympic Committee to battle the new coronavirus pandemic.
  • A more than 130-year-old lane in Osaka lined with cherry blossoms has been closed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but Kyodo News, permitted by authorities to use a drone around the area, on Friday captured images and footage of the flowers that attract nearly 700,000 visitors a week every spring.
  • About 60 percent of company employees in Tokyo and six other prefectures still commute to their offices despite the state of emergency declared for those areas to curb the coronavirus pandemic, a think tank survey showed Friday.
  • Japan began mandatory temperature testing on Friday of all passengers departing on domestic flights from Tokyo’s Haneda airport as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus from the capital, which has recently seen a significant increase in new infections.
  • A new hotline for victims of domestic violence will open Monday amid growing concerns that cases of abuse will rise in the wake of stay-at-home requests due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Japan’s minister for women’s empowerment Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference Friday.
  • Finance Minister Taro Aso said Friday the government’s 100,000 yen ($930) per person handout should be ready by next month, stressing that a quick response is crucial in softening the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Foreign trainees who lost their jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to switch jobs and stay in Japan, the Immigration Services Agency said Friday.
  • China’s Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, revised the virus death toll for the hard-hit city up by 1,290 to 3,869 on Friday.
  • Japanese prefectural governors on Friday urged the central government to be firmer in asking the public not to travel during the upcoming Golden Week holidays after it expanded a state of emergency to all of the country in a bid to stem the growing spread of the new coronavirus.
  • Japan Post Co. began delivering reusable cloth masks in Tokyo on Friday as part of the government’s program to help contain the new coronavirus outbreak.
  • China’s economy marked its first quarterly contraction on record in the first three months of 2020, shrinking 6.8 percent from a year earlier, official data showed Friday, underscoring the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic to the nation dubbed the “world’s factory.”
  • U.S. President Donald Trump said the country is moving toward reopening the economy, unveiling new guidelines for easing limits imposed on the public to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Thursday called for a “thorough” review and reform of the World Health Organization, the White House said, as the United States steps up criticism that the U.N. body has mishandled the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Prefectural governors largely welcomed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision Thursday to expand the state of emergency to the entire nation beyond Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures in the stepped-up fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

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

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded the state of emergency beyond Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures to the entire nation in an attempt to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading further and straining the health care system.
  • 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.
  • Kamakura, a popular tourist city in Japan, urged sightseers 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

List of shops closed in Tokyo following emergency declaration

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Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan

  • NEW!  Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “Tokyo Coronavirus Support Center for Foreign Residents (TOCOS)” multilingual hotline
    – Available in Simple Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Khmer, and Burmese, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except national holidays. 
    0120-296-004 (toll free)

  • 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

(Taxis wait for customers at JR Nagoya Station in central Japan on April 16, 2020.)