Ministry of Foreign Affairs raises all countries’ travel danger levels in historic first.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in Japan has been remarkably low for a nation of its size, but that doesn’t mean the country is out of the woods yet. In the same week that Tokyo formally proposed postponing the 2020 Olympics, the city also saw its single-day infection-confirmation record surpassed multiple times, causing a renewed sense of unease.

As part of expanding countermeasures, on Wednesday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement asking Japanese citizens to refrain from non-essential, non-urgent overseas travel of any kind. While the Ministry has periodically issued such requests for specific countries and territories, this is the first time in modern history for the Japanese government to place the entire world in that category.

The Ministry’s travel danger advisory system has four tiers. Earlier in the month, the Ministry placed the entire world at Level 1, which instructs travelers to exercise increased caution. That’s since been bumped up to Level 2, a request to refrain from non-essential/non-urgent travel, as of March 25. Certain regions of China and Korea, as well as the entirety of Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Iran, currently are at Level 3, a legal ban on travel to/from Japan. The highest level, Level 4, has yet to be enacted for any region, but would involve an evacuation order for Japanese citizens.

As with many of Japan’s current coronavirus countermeasures, compliance with the Level 2 advisory is voluntary, but with social distancing being one of the few known ways to help limit the spread of the disease, hopefully most Japanese travelers abide by it.

Source: NHK News Web via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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