As you are probably aware, China and the wider East Asia region is currently dealing with an outbreak of a new respiratory disease caused by a strain of coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.
Excluding cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Japan has the third highest number of confirmed cases after China and Singapore. A summary of the cases of coronavirus in Japan to date can be found on Wikipedia here. As of 17 Februrary, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Kyushu; however, Kumamoto has still been affected. For instance, the grand opening of the cruise terminal “Kumamon Port Yatsushiro,” originally planned for 1 April, has been cancelled.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issues travel advisories for Japanese nationals which can be viewed on their website here (Japanese only). Currently, the following advisories are in effect for mainland China:
- Hubei Province – Level 3, Do not travel
- Zhejiang Province – Level 3, Do not travel
- Other regions of mainland China – Level 2, Avoid non-essential travel
As you can see, the travel ban has been extended to Zhejiang as well as Hubei. Even if your home country has not issued equivalent travel warnings, we advise you to pay close attention to MOFA’s stance. As JET Programme participants are not Japanese citizens, you may be denied re-entry to Japan if you travel to affected areas. The MOFA website, linked above, states:
(As of 13 February, an entry ban to Japan has been extended to foreign nationals who have stayed in Zhejiang province, in addition to Hubei province.)
If you travel overseas at this time, you will be required to fill out health declaration questionnaires on whether you have travelled to Hubei or Zhejiang provinces upon your return.
Here are some additional resources for information on coronavirus:
- Kumamoto Prefecture, Official coronavirus information page (Japanese only): https://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/kiji_30386.html
- World Health Organisation, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
- Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information: https://www.japan.travel/en/news/coronavirus/
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)： https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html