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Table 1 Japan’s COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control policies

From: Policy disparities in fighting COVID-19 among Japan, Italy, Singapore and China

Phase Policy The Key elements
Phase 1 Issue risk warnings to the public In response to changes in the epidemic situation of COVID-19 in Wuhan, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs gradually raised the risk alert for the epidemic level.
(1) On January 21, 2020, risk warning of infectious disease level 1 was issued throughout China.
(2) On January 23, risk warning of infectious disease level 2 was issued against Wuhan, China.
(3) On January 24, risk warning of infectious disease level 3 was issued for the whole of Hubei Province, including Wuhan, and recommended that travel in Hubei Province of China be suspended.
(4) On March 18, risk warning of infectious disease level 1 was issued against globally.
Border control measures (1) On January 28, 2020, the Japanese Cabinet Meeting decided to designate COVID-19 as “designated infectious diseases” based on the “Infectious Disease Law”. Infected persons are prohibited from entering Japan. On February 1, the decree was implemented ahead of time. Relevant departments may require suspected patients to undergo examinations and be admitted to the hospital, prohibiting travelers from China’s Hubei and Zhejiang provinces from entering China.
(2) Since then, the border control measures have been continuously upgraded. As of April 3, Japan has imposed entry restrictions on visitors from 73 countries and regions. Returning residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to these affected regions is subject to 14-day quarantine.
Phase 2 The ministry of health released the “Basic Policy on COVID-19 Countermeasures” (1) The policy recommends that the public avoid gatherings, wash hands frequently, and observe cough etiquette. It is recommended that enterprises staggered commute and suspend school.
(2) Unless the elderly and patients with underlying diseases, mild patients should in principle rest at home. If patients’ symptoms progress, then contact a medical institution for consultation.
(3) Planning to change the standard of nucleic acid testing: at present, the testing standard is that doctors in various medical institutions judge whether to carry out testing. If patient’s number continues to increase in the future, it will be changed to test pneumonia patients who need to be admitted to hospital.
(4) Planning to reduce the observation of close contacts: at present, Japan conducts an epidemiological survey of close contacts of confirmed patients. However, if patient’s number continues to increase in the future, it will be changed to “reduce the health observation of close contacts”.
The Prime Minister called on the public to “self-restraint” On February 26th, the Japanese Prime Minister called for large-scale cultural and sports activities to “self-restraint” for 2 weeks. Therefore, concerts and stage play across the country were suspended or postponed. Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios also announced temporary closures. March 10 Japan has added the requirement of “self-restraint for 10 Days”.
The Prime Minister called on school closures The prime minister called on primary and secondary schools across the country to suspend classes from March 2 until spring break.
Phase 3 Declaring a state of emergency The prime minister declared a state of emergency on 7 April 2020, encouraging people to avoid unnecessary outings and to observe social distancing. On May 25, Japan lifted the declaration of emergency.