Japan will downgrade the legal classification of COVID-19 this spring — bringing an end to quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 patients — and review border controls and mask recommendations, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Friday, marking a major policy change nearly three years since the start of the pandemic.
Wearing masks outdoors to protect against the coronavirus is not necessary providing social distancing is practiced, Japan’s top government spokesman said Wednesday, with the approach of summer increasing the risk of heatstroke.
Monday’s news that Japan detected its first case of the highly transmissible XE variant of the coronavirus adds another concern for the government, which is struggling to raise vaccination rates among young people as infection levels remain high nationwide and are surging in mostly rural prefectures.
Most foreign students waiting to study in Japan will likely be able to enter the country by the end of May, as a new priority entry program is set to begin amid softer COVID-19 border controls, the top Japanese government spokesman said Wednesday.
Okinawa, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures ready to impose curbs on activity
TOKYO — Japan is set to allow the governors of three prefectures, including Okinawa, to enact restrictions on social activities as community spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 becomes more prevalent, the government announced on Thursday.
Japan’s daily rate of coronavirus vaccinations has reached a crucial milestone of 1 million, government data showed on Wednesday, as authorities scramble to recover lost time in inoculating the population.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga signaled Wednesday that all residents wishing to be vaccinated will be able to receive their shots by November, a bold declaration as his administration seeks to reassure the public that the pandemic’s end is near in the country ahead of a looming general election.
Japan’s top coronavirus adviser said Wednesday it is “not normal” to host this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics amid the coronavirus pandemic. Shigeru Omi, an infectious disease expert who heads a government subcommittee on the coronavirus, also said the Tokyo Games organizing committee is responsible for drawing up sufficient anti-virus measures to ensure the safety of the participants.
Japan opened state-run mass coronavirus vaccination centers on Monday in Tokyo and Osaka in a bid to accelerate an inoculation program that has lagged far behind other developed countries with just two months remaining before staging the Olympics.
Declaration widens to Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures
TOKYO — Japan announced on Friday that it will expand its coronavirus state of emergency to include three more prefectures as the nation struggles to contain rising infections, casting further doubt over the Tokyo Olympics 70 days ahead of their scheduled opening.