The Japanese government will start requiring travelers arriving from the United States to self-quarantine for fourteen days, starting this week, in an effort to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. According to the Nikkei newspaper Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to announce the new immigration measure on March 23rd.
As of March 22nd, the number of cases in the United States topped 26,000, with an overnight increase of over 2,700 (source: Reuters) and doubling in the last two days. The rapid spread of the coronavirus in the United States is occurring even as more and more state and municipal authorities are issuing “stay-at-home” orders and requiring businesses to shut down. Currently, about one in four people in the U.S. are under “stay-at-home” directives. The United States has also closed its borders with Canada and Mexico to all but non-essential travel and has asked returnees and other travelers from Japan to self-quarantine for fourteen days.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, there were 1.72 million visitors from the United States in 2019, second only to neighboring China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
As of June 2019, there were about 58,400 Americans living in Japan.
The U.S. and Japan also have strong political, economic, and military ties, and the self-quarantine requirement is expected to add to the economic disruption already occurring worldwide caused by the travel restrictions implemented by many countries.
Until the end of April
Japan’s self-quarantine requirement for travelers arriving from the United States will take effect within the week and last until the end of April. The government will ask people arriving from the U.S. to self-quarantine at home or in their hotel room and to refrain from using public transportation. Similar 14-day self-quarantine requirements have been issued in China, South Korea; European countries, including Britain, France and Germany; and Egypt and Iran.
On March 19th, the U.S. Department of State raised its global travel advisory for Americans to the highest level, Level 4: Do Not Travel. It advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The advisory warns that “If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.”
On March 22nd, the Japanese government raised its travel advisory for the United States to Level 2, advising its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the U.S.
Lead image: April 11, 2019, people at the Arrival Lobby B in Narita International Airport, Chiba, Japan, iStock