Is it Safe to Travel to Japan?

There are many reasons to visit Japan. The food, infamous temples and easy public transportation are just a few of the perks that Japan has to offer. Around the world, Japan is usually thought of as a peaceful place to live. Poverty and incarceration are low and the 2019 Global Peace Index ranks Japan as the 9th most peaceful country in the world. Although Japan is notoriously known for its safety and cleanliness, many wonder how the coronavirus is affecting the country.

How does the Coronavirus affect Japan?

The coronavirus originated in China, but has quickly spread to other countries like the United States and Hong Kong. Because the virus is contagious, masks are frequently worn to protect airborne illness from spreading further. The coronavirus has been reported in Japan, but how the infection spread there is currently unknown. 

The symptoms associated with the coronavirus range from mild to severe. Difficulty breathing, as well as fever and cough, have been reported. Pneumonia is a risk factor that can lead to death, especially in older patients. 

Since the coronavirus is contagious, Japan has begun suspending large public gatherings to avoid the risk of contamination. School graduation ceremonies have been suspended for three weeks. The United States Centers for Disease Control have issued a new travel advisory that states travels should “Practice Enhanced Precautions”. This Level 2 travel advisory is the second lowest advisory level given to a specific country. Countries that have a Level 2 advisory are among the safest

When traveling to Japan, taking the right health precautions can reduce the risk of infection.

What measures has the Government implemented?

The Japanese Government has announced that foreign nationals who hold a Chinese passport issued by Hubei/Zhejiang Provinces or who have visited following territories within 14 days of arrival in Japan will not be able to access Japan:

  • Hubei Provinces in China.
  • Zhejiang Provinces in China.
  • Daegu City/Cheongdo County in North Gyeongsang Province in Republic of Korea.
  • Gyeongsan/Andong/Yeongcheon City, Chilgok/Uiseong/Seongju/Gunwei County in North Gyeongsang Province in Republic of Korea.
  • Kom/Tehran/Gilan provinces in Iran.

Health tips for traveling safely

Wearing masks and avoiding contact with sick people is recommended when visiting Japan. Although those with a common cold are usually not dangerous, taking extra steps to avoid illness is imperative to one’s own safety as well as those around them. Washing hands regularly and often can also cut down on the risk of contamination. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good investment for places that may not have easy access to running water and soap. 

In addition to the coronavirus, avoiding radiation is key. Radiation levels are thought to be very low in Japan, but there has been an increase in cancer over the past few years. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster released radioactive isotopes after both an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Despite the nuclear disaster, the World Health Organization and the Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, now say that radiation risk is relatively low outside the geographical areas originally impacted. For those concerned about radiation, avoiding the Fukushima area will decrease the risk of radiation.

Japan is known for its cleanliness. Regular water from the tap can be used anywhere in Japan. If illness does occur, Japanese hospitals are readily available. These are well-established institutions and have high-quality treatment for residents and visitors alike. Purchasing travel insurance can be helpful for peace of mind or those who have preexisting medical conditions.

Other things to keep in mind

Japan has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. In addition to its natural beauty, it has experienced a variety of natural disasters. Like other surrounding countries, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes have occurred throughout the years.

In 2019, typhoon “Hagibis” reached both eastern and northern Japan. Typhoons can cause flooding and landslides. Although the typhoon hit in 2019, the region has normalized in almost all tourist destinations. 

Japan also experienced a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in 2019 that impacted Fukushima. There were no immediate reports of damage. Although the earthquake registered as a lower 5 on the intensity scale, the effects of its force could be felt in Tokyo. 

Earthquake safety measures have been in place for building codes all over Japan. Recently, flooding safety measures are now also in place to secure the safety of the country’s infrastructure and citizens. Stronger roads and buildings are being built to withstand future natural disasters in the country so that Japan can preserve its reputation as a safe country to travel.