This page was last updated: 3am MST 03/26/20
Current Situation in Japan
We have been following the global situation closely and will continue to gather information and share it on this platform as we are informed. We are gathering information from both the WHO (World Health Organisation) and WorldoMeter which is and indpendant company of developers, researchers, and volunteers who do live counting internationally. We have found their numbers to update much more frequently than on the WHO website. As of now, there have been a total of 471,417 cases (114,642 recoverd, 21,295 deaths) accross the world 81,285 (74,051 recovered) of those are cases confirmed in China and 390,132 (40,591 recovered) are from outside of China.
Cases in Japan
1,307 cases confirmed
952 active cases
57 critical cases
There have been new cases daily but with a population of 126,601,212, thats .0007% of the population that has been affected by the virus. Thats 9 people per 1 Million. America currently has 166 cases per 1 million people. The risk of transmission in Japan is still very low.
The increase of new reported cases could possibly be due to heightened awareness. In some instances, the symptoms of the virus are relatively mild and are similar to a bad cold. In the beginning, there could have been more people with the virus, but they didn’t get tested. Now, because of the heightened awareness, more people are getting tested.
In Japan are calling spots with numerous reported cases “clusters”. The live music club in Osaka is a cluster, and about 80 to 90% of the cases in Osaka came from that club. They have identified two clusters in Nagoya: a sports club and some city government office. Once again, about 80 to 90% of the cases came from these two spots. To combat this, there is currently a ban on gatherings larger than 50 people.
As numbers begin to slow, two schools in Toyama prefecture re-opened which is very encouraging news that the strict precaustions Japan has been taking, are working.
United States Travel Advisory
As our company is based out of the United States and the majority of our tour members are from there we have chosen to follow their travel advisories. As of February 22nd the travel advisory level for Japan went from a Level 1 to a level 2. This means that people should exercise increased caution when visiting Japan. And older adults and those people with chronic health conditions should reconsider non-essential travel. To put that in perspective, the Netherlands are at a level 2 due to Terrorism, Italy is at a Level 3 due to the virus and China is currently at level 4.
The United States suspended travel from most European countries to America but Japan continues to Stay at a Level 2 and is not affected by the suspension
While the global health advisory issued is at a level 4, the Japan Travel Advisory, through the US Department of State (which is what we are working off of) is still at a level 2. If you are travelling with us between now and the end of April, we will be reaching out to you and have created a temporary policy explained below. We do believe that the Japan travel advisory remaining at a level 2 does speak highly to the way they have been able to contain the virus with their quick and diligent response to the outbreak. Japan was one of the first countries to report a case of COVID-19 outside of China, and the numbers still being relatively low speaks volumes for the containment in Japan.
Travel with Confidence Temporary Policy
Please note that these are additional options extended for a fixed period to our clients and in no way removes any protections or options available in our original arrangements.
Due to the ever changing situation surrounding travel and COVID-19 we have implemented the following policy. For tours booked through June 30th, 2020, you have the option to cancel for future travel credit at any point up to 15 days prior to your departure day.
The future travel credit issued will be for the entire dollar amount (or equivalent alternative currency) paid. If you select a new tour with a cost that exceeds your travel credit, you will be responsible for paying the difference. Alternatively, if you select a new tour with a cost that is lower than your travel credit, we will issue you a check payment refund for the difference.
Final payments are still due on the set due date, unless you chose to use the travel with confidence policy and we issue you a travel credit prior to your final payment due date.
For tours set to depart after June 30th, 2020- we are waiving the $50 per person change fee if you would like to change to a different tour at this point. All funds paid up to the point of change will become a travel credit for use on a future tour (including deposit or other payments).
If we have purchased insurance for you, your travel credit must be used within one year of your original travel dates in order for your insurance to be valid (I.E. if you were set to depart on March 21, 2020, you must depart by March 21, 2021). If you choose to travel after the 1 year mark, you will be responsible for purchasing new insurance or traveling without insurance.
All travel credits must be used by the end of 2021 (December 31, 2021).
This temporary policy is set to expire June 30th, 2020, at which time we will readdress our policies.
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend taking these steps while traveling in Japan:
What happens if the travel advisory changes?
If the travel advisory changes to a level 3, we will inform you immediately with our amended terms and conditions.
What tourist attractions are currently closed in Japan?
There were a large number of tourist attractions closed until March 15th for preventative measures and a smaller amount will continue to stay closed until the end of the month. If the Skytree and Hiroshima Peace Memorial continues to stay closed past the end off the month, those are the only two attractions that we will need to make changes for.
The Sumo wrestlers contest at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Edion Arena Osaka on March 8, 2020was held without spectators for the first time in history.
Will my upcoming trip be affected?
The short answer is no. All airports have been taking extra precautions and Japan has always been big on screening for sickness at airports so they are continuing to do screening as they always have.
All trains are running on their regular schedule, restaurants, onsens, and many tourist attractions are still open so our tours are still running as “business as usual”. We are providing masks for our members if they want to wear them. Masks are very commonly worn in spring and fall in Japan due to hay fever so its very normal to see trains full of people wearing them and it should not cause you to be alarmed.