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Tracking the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Japan

Current recommendations by the Japanese Ministry of Health regardinc COVID-19

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus has the world in an uproar right now, and Japan is no different. I am not an expert on anything related to a virus or a pandemic, but I have been trying to keep up. This page lists the pages I have been collecting as useful sources of information.

This page will be updated if/when I find other useful sites. (Last updated July 9, 2020.)

English information in Japan

A page from the Japanese government that lists many sources of information in English, including hotlines to call.

A page of information from NHK World, including hotlines to call.

For Tokyo residents, see this page, which includes a hotline number you can call for help in multiple languages (English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Thai).

This page on Gaijinpot has up to date information on the current state of things in Japan.

Data Sources

Here are some data visualization sites that I keep track of regularly. You may find them useful too. This is something I learned to do during the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.

Unfortunately - and this is my personal view only - news media, even the ones considered to be reliable, frequently exaggerate or twist the message to fit their narrative - especially the headlines. But the numbers can be checked by anyone, which is a great thing, and you can draw your own conclusions from them - or seek out the advice of actual experts.

Japan, nationwide

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Situation Report in Japan: Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan. Data provided by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. This is in my opinion the easiest to see data visualization page for the whole country. It is constantly revised to make it easier to see things.

Thi s is a relatively new page from NHK, which lists numbers by prefecture. The top chart, which lists new positive cases daily, may be the most useful.

This page from Nikkei Shimbun, the main financial newspaper in Japan, has a lot of very attractively presented data.

The Ministry of Health finally has a very well organized data page! (Japanese only)

Coronavirus COVID-19 Japan Case by Each Prefecture (2019-nCoV) - this draws data from the prefectures rather than the Ministry of Health. This page may be the most comprehensive, but it's impossible to see properly on a small smartphone screen.

Hospital bed occupancy rates by prefecture - this lists all the hospital beds available for treating COVID-19 patients, and their current occupancy.

PCR tests administered, listed by prefecture

Survey of Critically ill COVID-19 patients in Japan, managed by the Japan ECMOnet for COVID-19. This page lists ventilator usage, including ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) units. Tip: Switch the language to English (or Japanese) in the top right corner.

Rt Covid-19 Japan is the Japan version of Rt Covid-19, a site that "tracks the values for Rt, a key measure of how fast the virus is growing. It’s the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. When Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading.". The original site is for the United States.

By prefecture

Official COVID-19 update pages. Some are available in Engish (such as Tokyo,which also has a Chinese version) while others are Japanese only.

If you don't see the prefecture you're interested in below, check this page, which lists all official and unofficial prefectural tracking sites. (Japanese only).


Saitama prefecture page - similar to the above pages, but just...unofficial.

This page has more finegrained information on Tokyo, including by-ward and city/town info (unofficial).

Worldwide data

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University - this one is widely used.


Our World in Data has a host of charts and graphs regarding COVID-19.

The Financial Times has a page where you can compare countries.

This last one is a bit esoteric perhaps, but for data visualization fans it's fascinating. From the homepage:

"Nextstrain is an open-source project to harness the scientific and public health potential of pathogen genome data. We provide a continually-updated view of publicly available data alongside powerful analytic and visualization tools for use by the community. Our goal is to aid epidemiological understanding and improve outbreak response."

This is their COVID-19 page.

My Twitter

Lastly, I have been tweeting periodically about the ongoing situation in Japan, especially stories that may not get picked up by the international news media. (I do take breaks sometimes because it is extremely draining.)

About the graphic

The graphic above is provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health; it was first published in March. Their recommendations for avoiding the spread of the virus are as follows, described as the 3 Mitsu (密 - concentrated situations) . These are usually called the 3 Cs in English, and have since spread quite widely around the world as a way keeping the the virus under control.

The 3 Cs are as follows:

  • Avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation
  • Avoid large, concentrated crowds
  • Avoid close-contact, concentrated conversation, singing or shouting

It is also recommended to do the basics too of course - like washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, wearing face masks, keeping a good distance between you and other people, and staying in whenever possible, especially if you are in a high risk group.

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