**Updated April 15, 2020**

U.S. Forces Japan declares Japan-wide public health emergency
Yokota Air Base, Tokyo – The commander of U.S. Forces Japan declared a public health emergency for all of Japan, Apr. 15, 2020. This order expanded the previous declaration, which included only the Kanto Plain region.
The declaration ensures commanders possess the necessary authorities to enforce compliance with health protection measures. It is applicable to anyone with access to U.S. installations or facilities and includes military, civilians, contractors, and host-nation employees.
The PHE will remain in effect through May 15, unless it is renewed or terminated sooner by the USFJ commander.
USFJ will continually assess necessary preventative measures and continues to encourage strict hygiene and social distancing to reduce the risk of transmission.

U.S. Forces Japan declares public health emergency for the Kanto Plain region

The U.S. Forces Japan commander announced a Public Health Emergency for the Kanto Plains region, Apr. 6, 2020.

The declaration ensures commanders possess the necessary authorities to enforce compliance health protection measures among military, civilians, and contractors who live and work on U.S. installations.

CDC designates Japan as “Level 3” country  

The Center for Disease Control recently made the decision to issue a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Japan, raising it from the previous level of two. More information on the CDC levels can be found at www.CDC.gov.

What does this mean for U.S. Forces in Japan?

As stated in the Department of Defense travel restriction guidance: “Effective 13 Mar 20, all DOD uniformed personnel, civilian personnel, and dependents traveling to, from, or through CDC Designated Level 3 locations, will stop movement for the next 60 days.”

This includes all forms of official travel, including Permanent Change of Station, TDY, and government-funded leave. For DOD uniformed personnel, this also includes personal leave and other non-official travel.

As stated in the travel restriction guidance, exceptions may be granted for compelling cases where the travel is: (1) determined to be mission essential; (2) necessary for humanitarian reasons; or (3) warranted due to extreme hardship. Details on exceptions should be addressed through your chain of command.

At the conclusion of the 60 days, which began March 13 2020, the DoD will reevaluate the stop movement policy and issue follow-on guidance, as necessary.

We understand that this may cause increased concern and we know that it will create challenges in some shape or form for all of us stationed here in Japan. Things may continue to change, and new challenges will present themselves.

At this time, there is no change in the USFJ Force Health Protection Order or HPCON levels here in Japan.

For questions about leave and liberty, you need to continue to work with your chain of command to educate yourself and those around you. Each service component will have its own unique policies in place and it is important that we understand them and don’t spread rumors and misinformation.

Again, work with your chain of command to familiarize yourselves and others about these policies as they continue to change.

On March 11, the Secretary of Defense released updated travel restrictions for DoD components in response to COVID-19.  U.S. Forces Japan is currently reviewing the policy and will be sending out more specific guidance as it becomes available.

This new DoD guidance will impact travel for military and civilian personnel and their families and we understand there are many questions and concerns at this time.  Please continue to monitor U.S. Forces Japan social media accounts and the COVID-19  feature page for updates as they become available. 

In the meantime, please stay in close communication with your leadership if you have travel plans such as a TDY, PCS, or leave away from your home station.


Notice to Travelers

1.  While the GOJ has barred travelers from certain countries, they are allowing SOFA persons to fly into Japan.  Entry is conditioned on two issues.  First, travelers are not permitted to use public transportation from the initial point of entry to Japan, including domestic air travel.  Second, they need to do 14 days of ROM under US control.

2.  The best way for personnel to arrive in Japan for travel to Misawa, Iwakuni/Sasebo, or Okinawa is via the PATRIOT EXPRESS.  This will allow for uninterrupted travel to their final destination.  If going to Sasebo or any non-Kadena base, travel from Iwakuni or Kadena will need to be by private conveyance or GOV.  If a traveler headed outside the Kanto Plain arrives via commercial air, they will need to use government transportation to Yokota or Atsugi and then do onward movement by milair - or do their 14 day ROM and then go commercial.

3.  For personnel arriving on the Kanto Plain, they can travel PATRIOT or commercial.  However, travel from the airport to their place where they will ROM pursuant to the COMUSFJ force health protection order will need to by private conveyance or GOV.

4.  Given most travel is shut down currently, there should not be large numbers of travelers other than personnel returning from TDYs that had already been underway prior to the Stop Movement order.  It is essential that you contact each potential traveler and make sure they know the requirements and reschedule travel plans to enable the travelers to avoid expensive ROM requirements at Narita, Osaka, etc.

5.  We have had some travelers have difficulty with airlines allowing the travelers to get on flights or with the Ministry of Health allowing the SOFA persons to avoid quarantine in the immediate vicinity of the airport of initial arrival in Japan.  Please ensure your personnel have a copy of the appropriate entry letter provided via their chain of command, which should remove the roadblock.



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