Daily Archives: 2020-03-16

The YOKA Winter 2020

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The Winter 2020 YOKA is available now! This quarter’s YOKA features the following…

  • Yakushima by Melissa WrightThe YOKA Winter 2020
  • Eco Park Minamata by Ryn Kaestner
  • 橋上手 by Khair Ali
  • Monitor Tour to Yamato Town by Ruth Madden
  • What I Wish I’d Known Earlier about Kato Kiyomasa by Adam Pool
  • Kikuchi-kun by Steven Swanson
  • A Couple Notes from Junior High School Teachers and Japanese Bamboo Pancake by Kelley Gathright
  • Socks Magic by Catherine Burke
  • Extra Time in Kuma Gun by Raleigh Hooks
  • Sakura Viewing Guide by Chase Sutherland
  • Photos by Tiffany Chin, Josie Dennis, Quinlan Fletcher, Kira-Ann Hayashi, Alicia Lim, Eva Marie Olson, Chase Sutherland, Jenifer Vosper

This YOKA was designed by Kira-Ann Hayashi. An HQ version (213 MB) of this issue is also available.

Not sure what the YOKA is? The YOKA is a quarterly English-language newsletter written and designed by Kumamoto JETs. For more information and past YOKAs, visit this page.

We happily accept submissions for future YOKAs! If you are interested in contributing an article, photo, or creative piece for a future issue, then please e-mail your submission to kumamotopa@gmail.com.

Coronavirus Update

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Hello Kumamoto,

One additional confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kumamoto was announced on 5 March, bringing the total number to 6. You can read the full briefing on the prefectural website here (Japanese only), but we’ll summarise the main details here in English.

The sixth case is of a woman in her 40s living in the jurisdiction of the Ariake Health Center (Arao/Tamana Area) and is employed at an elderly care facility.
The woman is asymptomatic. She is believed to have contracted the virus during a visit to Osaka, where she met friends from Shikoku and Tokyo. Two of the woman’s friends were later confirmed to have COVID-19 upon returning to Ehime and Kochi prefectures. Authorities are now administering PCR tests to all of the woman’s family members, coworkers, and elderly care facility residents.

After than, further down in this e-mail, is some more information about travelling and some more links to find up-to-date information in English. Let’s start with travel.

On travel: Over the last few weeks we have received many inquiries not only from JETs, but also very concerned COs worried about domestic travel of their JETs outside of Kumamoto. As we have said before, the decision about whether or not to travel at this time is your own, but we strongly recommend you make any decision only after consulting closely with your CO. With regard to travel to areas of Japan with a large number of confirmed cases, we implore you to take your COs concerns seriously and consider the risks carefully when making a decision. We also ask you to exercise the same degree of caution if your travel involves transit through areas with large numbers of cases even if your final destination has no reported cases.

With respect to travel overseas, a number of countries have announced immigration restrictions on people coming from or who have travelled recently to Japan. Depending on the country, the measures vary, and include complete entry bans as well as enforced quarantine upon entry. The most up-to-date information is summarised on this page maintained by MOFA: https://www.anzen.mofa.go.jp/covid19/pdfhistory_world.html
The page is available only in Japanese, but the content is the kind that Google translates fairly well. For your convenience, here’s the Google Translate link: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=ja&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.anzen.mofa.go.jp%2Fcovid19%2Fpdfhistory_world.html

How to get up-to-date information on coronavirus news: As we try our best to keep informed about the ongoing situation, here is an updated list of resources for getting up-to-date and reliable information.We recommend the following news pages for news in Japan:NHK World News (in English): https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/tags/82/
JAG Investment Management Co., Ltd. maintains a map of confirmed cases in Japan by prefecture (available in English): https://jagjapan.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/55c22ee976bc42338cb454765a6edf6b
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) maintains a page with information targeted towards foreigners travelling in Japan, including a variety of helpful resources as well as a list of temporary attractions closures: https://www.japan.travel/en/news/coronavirus/

The JNTO also run a 24-hour hotline (50-3816-2787) which provides support and advice in English for visitors in Japan including on COVID-19.

There are also official government webpages that you can refer to.Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare maintains a page with information in English: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_00032.html
Kumamoto Prefecture also has an official coronavirus information page though it is Japanese only: https://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/kiji_30386.html
Kumamoto City official coronavirus information page (Japanese only):

You can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak here:  https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

World Map of infections by UN: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control page – https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china

Where to find information on your country’s stance on coronavirus in Japan:
United States: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/japan-travel-advisory.html
United Kingdom:  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/japan
Canada: EN – https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/japan,  FR – https://voyage.gc.ca/destinations/japon
Australia: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/japan
New Zealand: https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/japan
Ireland: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/japan/
South Africa: Check for updates on http://www.dirco.gov.za/, Contact embassy for consular assistance: http://www.sajapan.org/  
Singapore: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/countries-regions/j/japan/travel-page
Jamaica: Check for updates on https://mfaft.gov.jm/jm2/, Contact embassy for consular assistance: http://jamaicaembassy.jp/
Trinidad and Tobago: Contact embassy for consular assisstance: http://www.embassyin.jp/trinidad-and-tobago/ https://foreign.gov.tt/services/registration-nationals-abroad/
France: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays-destination/japon/
Sweden: https://www.swedenabroad.se/sv/om-utlandet-f%C3%B6r-svenska-medborgare/japan/reseinformation/ambassadens-reseinformation/aktuella-h%C3%A4ndelser/

That’s all for now. 

Bilal Khan & Lily McDermott