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Akihabara in November 2021 (photo: Daryl Harding)


The Japanese government confirmed today that the quasi-State of Emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will continue in 18 prefectures past the March 6 deadline until March 21, including the metropolitan Tokyo and Osaka areas. This comes as Japan relaxes its border restrictions for non-tourists, and announces more easing of border restrictions.


Including Tokyo and Osaka, the prefectures of Hokkaido, Aomori, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Ishikawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Hyogo, Gifu, Shizuoka, Kumamoto, and Kagawa will continue to have quasi-State of Emergency restrictions such as events being limited and eateries closing early. All the other prefectures under the measures will see them lifted.


This comes as cases fall at a slower pace than previous waves, though deaths remain some of the highest since the pandemic began and bed usage remains high in the above 18 prefectures, with Tokyo still above a 48% bed usage rate for COVID-19 related beds. 12.7 % of those beds are taken by COVID-19 patients who need serious monitoring and ventilators. Tokyo yesterday recorded 10,517 new cases with 27 deaths with 18,038 people tested on a three-day rolling average.


Besides all this, on March 5 the Japanese reopened the borders to non-tourists and have lowered quarantine for arrivals based on how many vaccine doses one has, with those entering Japan with three doses and from a country not on the designated list needing to not quarantine at all. Those from countries on the list and with three doses can quarantine at home or hotel for three days. 


The daily cap for arrivals is also set to increase on March 17 to 7,000 people per day – up from 5,000 – and include unlimited student entries as long as there are open plane seats and slots for the day.


Source: NHK, The Japan Times (1, 2), Stop COVID-19 Tokyo



If you or someone you know is living in Japan, coronavirus-based English resources are available at NHK World Japan. 


Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.