Is it safe to visit Japan as the coronavirus cases increase?

Source: Gaijin Pot

By now, most travelers planning to visit Japan or greater Asia have heard of COVID-19 or the coronavirus. On Jan. 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global emergency. Some restaurants in Tokyo have even gone so far as to ban non-Japanese patrons.

While that does sound scary—and a bit outrageous on the restaurant owner’s part—the fatality rate outside China and among non-elderly patients has been relatively low.

The Japan National Tourism Organization. has a multilingual coronavirus hotline for those who think they may be affected. Support is available in English, Chinese, and Korean 24 hours a day.

If you’re living in Japan or planning to visit, you may be wondering how safe it is. What can you do to protect yourself? What about the 2020 Olympics? Will the virus impact travel plans outside of Japan and greater Asia?

Here is the most up-to-date run-down we can give. It is worth noting, however, that because this is a new and fast-spreading virus, what we know now could change in the future.

What’s Japan’s infection rate?

As of Tues, Feb. 25, 851 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Japan. The majority of those cases were from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship on which passengers were quarantined for 14 days in Yokohama Bay. So far, four people in Japan have died due to the virus. In comparison, the total number of deaths in China is over 2,000 at present.

Will the Tokyo 2020 Olympics be canceled?

Photo: Heidi Sarol
The Olympic rings sit in Tokyo Bay.

There was speculation that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be canceled due to growing fears of the virus, but both the organizing committee and Government of Japan have denied …continue reading