How is the Coronavirus Affecting Japan | Is it Safe?


So I wasn’t going to make a video on the coronavirus. Given the situation is changing so fast, it can often be too hard to keep up with it. But yesterday I noticed a worrying trend that, for me, became a bit of a turning point. I was going to my local supermarket in search of some lentils and an apple, and as I reached the front of the store, I noticed that every customer seemed to be desperately clutching on to as many toilet rolls as they could carry. And I quickly thought to myself, ‘well, shit’s going down’. Now, I’d seen earlier in the morning that there was some serious panic-buying in Tokyo. There’d been rumours that, as a result of Chinese factories being shut down because of the coronavirus, toilet roll manufacturers weren’t producing enough toilet roll and thus, people were going out and buying as much as they could before it inevitably ran out. Yet, as it was pointed out later on in the day, these fears were completely unfounded given that most of Japan’s toilet paper comes from Japan, and members of Japan’s toilet paper industry had to basically come out and say ‘don’t worry, there’s toilet paper for everybody’. But not before people at my local supermarket had run off with enough toilet rolls to build a small castle. But for me, that was the turning point where I felt like, ‘okay, maybe it’s time to make a video on this’, because when you start to see people panic like that, inevitably you begin to panic as well, and that sensation really sucks. Now, I have been following the situation closely for the last two months, giving advice to a lot of worried travellers, and there’s been some ridiculous, crazy news stories from around the country as a result of the coronavirus, from a ramen shop that banned foreigners entirely, to even Mickey Mouse and Van Gogh’s iconic Sunflower painting facing quarantine in Tokyo where it’s currently on display. So in this video, I wanted to give you a round up of all the things that are going on around Japan, throw in my own personal experiences and observations, and discuss if Japan is still safe to visit – or, is worth visiting – given the ongoing situation. Now, for the longest time, even though Japan did have the second highest number of cases after China, the situation did seem relatively stable. Even though there are 862 cases, 691 of them, the vast majority, are on the boat ride from hell, the Diamond Princess, which is quarantined in Yokohama Harbor. One of the first noticeable differences was a massive drop in the number of tourists, as a result of China banning group tours. China makes up 30% of Japan’s overseas tourists – a huge amount. And I’ve been to Sapporo, Tokyo and Sendai in February, and in all of those cities, you could feel it. You could feel there were less crowds and there were fewer tourists, particularly in Sapporo during the Sapporo Snow Festival. Last year, they had 2.7 million attendees, this year that number was just 2 million. So, a pretty substantial drop, and as a result the whole event didn’t feel that busy. Slightly ominously, in the hotel room that I was staying in, I saw a receipt poking out from under the bed that clearly the cleaner had missed, which already was bad enough… But I pulled out the receipt and it revealed that the last guest in the hotel room the night before had, in fact, bought hand sanitiser, towels, cold and flu tablets, and masks, and that wasn’t particularly reassuring! I didn’t really wanna see that. But just today, Hokkaido announced a public emergency due to 63 cases and 2 deaths. And they’re currently trying to encourage people to stay in and not go out, and basically just self-quarantine. Meanwhile, in contrast to that, Kyoto, which is typically flooded with tourists throughout the year, has seen such a spectacular drop in the number of overseas tourists that they’ve announced an ’empty tourism’ campaign, basically encouraging sightseers to come and enjoy the city while it’s still rarely empty. And for the first time in a long time, I’m actually thinking of going down there to wander around it and explore it while there’s not many people around. Meanwhile, Disneyland and Universal Studios are closed until March 15th, because nobody wants Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to contract the coronavirus. Even Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflower painting, which is on loan from the National Gallery in London at the moment. It’s the first time it’s left Europe ever. It’s currently quarantined in Tokyo for the next two weeks as all of Japan’s national art museums are closed. Just about the only good thing to have come from it so far has been people being more weary of personal hygiene – washing their hands, wearing face masks, and just being more careful in public. And it’s said that this was a key factor in a 60% drop in the number of cases of influenza this year. Last year, there were 129,000 cases, this year just 44,000, a sign that people are changing their habits in the face of the coronavirus. Still, fear does bring out the worst in people, and there was one disheartening story: the case of a Tokyo ramen shop where the owner had banned all foreigners outright. It became a Japanese-only ramen shop to protect the customers from catching the disease. And ever-so-slightly ironic given the vast majority of cases on the Japanese mainland are Japanese people. It does set a worrying precedent – what if other shops and stores enact similar policies to the point that foreigners just can’t go out and eat ramen. Thankfully, that won’t happen, because most people aren’t fucking idiots. Fortunately the ramen shop did receive a wave of criticism, mostly from Japanese people who pointed out that viruses don’t discriminate on race, so why are you? And, of course, this is an isolated case which is why it did get so much traction in the media. One of the most dramatic moves came last week when the Japanese government decided to close all schools across Japan. Well, not technically close all schools, but advise schools to close, which is essentially the same thing. It is really unfortunate timing as the Japanese academic year finishes in March and thousands of students have their graduation ceremonies which is a really big moment in their lives – y’know, it’s a really big milestone. And now, all those events are cancelled. But the biggest worry that overshadows everything and seems so unthinkable just saying it out loud feels like a crime, it’s basically Japan’s answer to Voldemort, is the potential cancellation of the 2020 Olympics. 6 months ago, if someone had suggested the Olympics wouldn’t happen in 2020, they would’ve been laughed out the room. Now, people are talking about it as a real possibility. What’s worse, is Japan has already cancelled a previous Olympics back in 1940 and you can probably work out why that happened. But to cancel it would be a huge blow for Japan. And while I’m not a fan of the Olympics, or sports, or just the concept of having fun in general, for 7 years now I’ve watched the country become consumed with excitement and enthusiasm and anticipation, especially after the hugely-successful Rugby World Cup last year. Billions had been spent, the planning has been colossal, and cancelling it all just so suddenly would not only blow a hole through the economy, but also just a devastating blow for the national spirit, I think. Y’know, Japan is very good at overcoming the many disasters that gets thrown at it, whether it’s a tsunami, earthquake, nuclear disaster, a typhoon – I mean, just next week is the anniversary of the Tohoku tsunami. But to cancel the Olympics would be a huge blow, and I really hope that that doesn’t have to happen. I really hope the situation improves in the coming weeks and months. So to those of you visiting Japan or considering visiting this year, should you cancel your trip or should you postpone it? Right now, as of today, on the Japanese mainland, there are 157 confirmed cases, which is a tiny proportion of the population, given there’s 126 million people. And you can look at that in one of two ways: wow, that’s a lot of potential people that could get infected, or wow, that’s a really small proportion of 126 million people. Though it is important to point out the actual number of unconfirmed cases is probably a lot higher than that. For me personally, I’ll just be travelling around in March as per usual between Tokyo and Sendai. I’ll be washing my hands, being a bit more careful. I can’t say I’m gonna wear a face mask because I don’t see how this is gonna stop a 200 nanometre virus from getting through it. Though if I do contract the coronavirus then I will be wearing one, like this. Fun fact: this is the first time I’ve ever worn a face mask and… I don’t like it. My students – when I was a teacher, my students used to wear this even when they weren’t sick. Just because they could kind of keep hidden and keep, kind of, away from answering questions. So they’re a big fan of these masks to be honest. I think the main risk in coming to Japan isn’t necessarily catching the coronavirus, but being potentially quarantined when you return back to your home country. At this moment in time, I don’t know of any countries that are doing that, but obviously, if the situation gets worse then that might become a thing and you might have to be in a room. You’ll have to assess that on your own personal situation. But at this moment in time, Japan has a level 2 warning from the Centre for Disease Control in the US which means practice enhanced precautions, which is a step below South Korea and China where it’s a level 3 where people are being told to avoid non-essential travel. I’ve actually got 5 unrelated friends all coming to Japan in April from the UK, and at this moment in time, none of them have cancelled their trips. On the contrary, many of them are excited by the prospect of cheaper air fares, cheaper hotels, and a more relaxed atmosphere, because there’s just fewer tourists in general at the moment. But obviously, if there is a spike in the number of cases in the coming weeks, then I may urge them to reconsider it. It’s something I’ll be monitoring and following along closely. As for the disease itself, I’ve read mixed reports – some say there’s a mortality rate of 1%, some say it’s 2% but obviously if you factor in the global population, that is still quite a large number. And if you have elderly relatives in particular, it’s a little bit worrying, and my thoughts go out to everyone who’s actually been affected by the virus or lost any loved ones or relatives. However, it seems likely that the worst effect for most of us will just be a combination of inconvenience and fear, and we can only hope as the temperatures warm up and winter becomes spring, that the number of cases begins to drop – that’s what I’m hoping for. Until then though, I’m gonna start work on my toilet roll castle. While I intend to wait for all of this to blow over. I will be posting more updates on Facebook and Twitter which you can find in the description box below, but for now guys, as always, many thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time. Right! Time to get on with this toilet roll castle. I think we’re gonna need more toilet rolls. See, if I was a good Youtuber, I would actually build a toilet roll castle, but instead, because I’m not a good Youtuber, I’m just gonna pretend like I am. Genius! … Maybe it can go higher. Let’s see… if it…- no. That’s- That’s it. That’s where the fun ends. … Wait a minute. [Chris sings the James Bond theme] … Yeah, I need to get out more.

100 thoughts on “How is the Coronavirus Affecting Japan | Is it Safe?

  1. General Coronavirus Info and Map https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

  2. Australia is experiencing same toilet paper hysteria too its ridiculous

  3. FUN FACT : "OTAKU" means 'THE HOUSE'.
    as o means great or 'the' and taku means house or home.

  4. Please don't use profanity, it's not necessary. I'm for example not offended if someone makes irrational decisions in moments of panic, it's human,, you don't need to take that seriously or personally

  5. Much more people in the world are still dying of smoking, alcohol and obesity related diseases, motorcar accidents, etc ….. and prayerlessness 😁

  6. I just came from Japan, the coronavirus news on the country is blown out of proportion.

  7. Something about the music track with the marimbas is really familiar and I can't place why, other than hearing it in other AiJ videos… Anyone know what it's from?

  8. Info that i got. Corona dont spread in air. Its spits mostly.. so washing hand and dont tauching your lips and nose and eye when your outside. (Wearing mask keep corona for spreading.. when you couch. so it is also nice.) When many ppl stay in small area its more safe when you use the mask. (But if you tauching your lips as wear mask its not good.)//

  9. Thanks for the video on this. I'm planning a trip to Japan with friends in October of this year, please make more videos on this if the situations changes; for better or for worse!

  10. I'm still deciding to go or not. Booked a trip for late March thru early April a year ago so if I cancel, won't get any money back and I really want to see the cherry blossoms and visit parts of Japan I haven't yet been to. I am worried about possibly being quarantined on my return to the US…I have another trip planned for a week after my Japan one, so a 14 day quarantine would mess that up. I'm intrigued to experience this "empty tourism"…sounds very attractive actually. Last time I went to Kyoto it was during Golden Week so the crowds were insane. It would be nice to actually have a chance to soak in the beauty of Kyoto without mega-crowds. Hmm…

  11. Why don't you go home then, you're a white kid. You have no say in Japan.

    Just because you're used to immigrants taking over your country doesn't mean you can do that.

    Japan should remove you. Gfy

  12. Ppl don't wear masks just to hide their faces… a lot of ppl in JP suffer from serious allergies. Jeusussss. 🙄🙄

  13. That toilet paper thing is happening in France now. My mum thoughtfully rang me from London to tell me to stock up on bog roll, so I went to the supermarket and it was almost all gone. People are mad, I thought this virus affected your lungs, not your arse..

  14. My flight to Tokyo just got cancelled because of the stupid virus and now my $625 rail pass might as well be kindling now

  15. Off topic but I see we have the same Japanese book 🤔 us and maybe millions of other people lol

  16. As I make it priority to visit Japan every year since 2015 I will most definitely not be canceling my trip this year especially since I feel like walking through the cesspool that is my city in NYC I've probably become immune to the nastiest shit out there lol. Jokes aside I do hope things do resolve soon and am extremely excited to once again visit the beautiful country.

  17. I think I've of the other main reasons for the flu levels also going down, is due to people in Japan actually staying at home if they're sick. Usually, it's believed that people in Japan are pressured to go to work regardless and make everyone at work potentially sick too.

    You forgot to mention the arguments on trains that some Japanese people had against people not wearing masks and also with fights over facemasks (which are all but sold out).

  18. So right now is the best time for me to come to Japan… less tourists.. thank corona! Im on the next flight out!

  19. Important clarification:
    Mortality Rate = deaths / total population
    Fatality Rate = deaths / infected population

  20. Social media spreads misinformation. Imagine learning there's bacteria everywhere, even your freshly washed bedsheets. Yeah. Thanks to social medias デマ

  21. My plan on going to Japan in February was postponed and pushed all the way back to May (hopefully things are clear by the time)

    So yeah, going somewhere (not only Japan) seems to be not worth right now since most attractions are closed

  22. Well on the issue of masks its only good to use for people who are already sick to stop them from spreading it. The virus can enter your eyes so a mask is pointless in that case.

  23. I'm Japanese and live in rural area but Toilet paper and masks are still out of stock.
    It's really uncomfortable 🙁 And this shortage was caused by fictional information, which made us fucking mad and the one who put it out apologized for it fortunately

  24. Hahaha Australia is in the same situation… No toilet paper. It is ridiculous.

  25. 東京都内でも感染者が複数確認され、日本政府は咳や発熱のある人に近づかない、人混みの場所に行かないようにしましょうと言っているし、ごめん、ちょっとやばいだと思うけど。新型コロナに負けないという人はいるけど、まじで新型コロナを舐めてはいけないと思います。気をつけましょう。
    Multiple corona patients have been confirmed within Tokyo. The government has encouraged people to avoid crowds, using public transportation,and people with a fever or cough. I would avoid the airport, if you don’t need to go. There are people who say they won’t let the virus stop them, but you shouldn’t take the virus, and your life for granted. Stay safe everyone.

  26. And I thought it was just us mad/stupid/overreacting Aussies that were hoarding toilet paper – good to see that the rest of the world is just as insane 🙂

  27. Finally, Japan🇯🇵 made decision that people arriving from Mainland China 🇨🇳 and South Korea 🇰🇷 to be quarantined for two weeks at designated facilities in Japan 🇯🇵 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
    Japan government is not very smart and they still continue to open border from Mainland China 🇨🇳 and South Korea 🇰🇷.
    Why Japan 🇯🇵? Common sense!!!

  28. Thanks for giving us an insider report along with the the other Japan based YouTubers (sounds like a wacky variety of potato). Regular tv news is rather limited and kind of sensationalist (fear mongering?).

  29. Wash hands, keeps your body healthy eat nutrition food like fruits every day e.g. oranges, I was in Canada but I never had any sickness or fever or virus or whatever kind of these. Even though Canada was affected by C-virus, don’t trust vaccines they do harm to you, you’ll get sick very easy

  30. Just my personal opinion but I think it's still better to wear a mask when going out, because you never know for sure if you are infected or not since the virus has an incubation period of two weeks, by the time the symptoms showed up you could have already infected many people.

  31. I made plans to visit Tokyo in September 2020 and fully expect that will be the case.

  32. Hey if you like beautiful land, i would love show you or have you goto Montana USA, ill even help pay

  33. Meanwhile back home in the UK everyone's more concerned about the next TV license fee rise lol.

  34. I wish I could go to Kyoto now instead of last summer – I was drowning in tourists. However, I'm pretty sure my insurance wouldn't cover if anything else happened to me since Denmark advises against going to Japan – and I'd have to be quarantined when I got home…

  35. Lucky i never use toilet paper, i just wash my ass in every "business" transactions. Lol

  36. Japan is crazy. They are making so hard for their citizens to get tests. Massive testing will confirm more cases. Japan cannot accept this because they have to do the Tokyo Olympics. Japan wants foreigners and athletics to go there where everywhere is full of virus.
    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/03/05/asia/japan-coronavirus-infection-levels-hnk-intl/index.html

  37. Take care & stay strong Japan! Sending you love from the 🇵🇭 Philippines.

  38. Lol I mean japanese people take it seriously, so I see his point, nevermind the fact that japan is also close to china, so it's to be expected it will be hit sooner than all those far away foreigners who laugh it off.

  39. The mortality rate changes depending on the age of those who have contracted it; 15% for people in their 60s, and up to about 30% for those 80 years and older. The rate is also changing daily because maths. I actually really like that people are taking hygiene more seriously. I work in a cafe and every year get sick because people like to come into my workplace when they are unwell. I think people should treat all infectious disease, flu included, the same way. Perhaps chill out on the loo rolls though.

  40. Cool, I'm going to be living there for 2 years starting in may. Can't wait to die!

  41. The Ramen Shop should have put up a sign if your Sick Go home, No Sickos! Then they would have had the bad English as well. Is it not also time for either another bad English or Hate Mail video? It's 2020 now you missed 2019 I think.

  42. Wait a minute… I thought Japan uses bidets. What the hell do you need toilet paper for?

  43. eat for FUKUSHIMA ..enjoy jjappan ..abe , aso and gono are great reader …killing jjappan people

  44. Completely proper for a British person to do the 007 theme. Even through a TP roll.

  45. Hiding is the best thing Japanese can do but that makes other people feel uneasy. Just reveal everything clearly and be honest to the world. Then people will trust if Japan deserves to hold Olympic.

  46. Same thing happening in Australia…. and we manufacture our own too 🤦🏼‍♀️

  47. How bad is it in Korea right now? I'm going to Japan in April with a layover in SK. Should I cancel and try to find another flight?

  48. Lentils and an apple – ah yes. Enjoying some of your world-renowned “British cuisine” eh Chris?

  49. One of the explanations I have heard about wearing a face mask is, ‘Since the mask keeps your droplets contained, and you may only get mild symptoms from the virus, wearing a mask reduces the risk of you unknowingly spraying the virus onto others.’

  50. Thanx for the update! Ive got reservations to Japan in Oct/Nov2020 … hopefully the CV19 subsides by then …

  51. It's really tempting to go back to Japan now with so many airlines offering cheap tickets to Japan but then again… ugh… it is a very confusing time we're in now…

  52. In my country the Corona virus cases are very low like 80-100 in the capital city where I live, and just in one day of that news all the schools and colleges have been closed till April until now, and new semister will be starting late this year. I hope everyone just don't have a hard time in their own countries and I pray that this outbreak ends soon.

  53. I currently am in Japan (after months preparing for it, watching your videos —huge thanks btw, they got really useful—) and I must say, it is a real blast to visit with so few tourists. Was in Kyoto last week and able to wander around fushimi inari-taisha with absolutely NO ONE! My Instagram account is digging it. So, yes, having Parks and museum closed is a shame, but there is sooo many things to see here that I find myself not missing it a bit! Thank you for all your videos!

  54. ' well, shits are going down..' I laughed so hard that almost choked myself. It's funny but also kinda scary and sad…

  55. This has nothing to do with this video however you should make a video with you and the group where you guys get drunk and play traditional japanese games, not necessarily drinking games, just fun games exclusive to japan. I loved the videos with natsuki drinking and the video where you played against the idol girls in samurai outfits. Just an idea. 😉

  56. there are now over 500 confirmed in japan mainland, id still go if i could afford the tickets. they would be so cheap right now.

  57. People are hoarding toilet paper and disinfectants here in SF bay area California. That is why I am drinking corona beers in a hazmat suit. Gotta play it safe!

  58. In British Columbia where I live, there have only been about 25 cases and zero deaths, people here are freaking out too, buying out all the toilet paper. wtf is wrong people? Stupid sheep, the common flu alone kills between 100k-650k every year, this has been egregiously blown out of proportion. Most people are healthy enough to survive, I haven't had a flu shot in 20 years and I barely even get the flu.

  59. Can I still go to japan this month or I can't get in to japan airport?

  60. I know this is super off topic, but I got this playable book thing to learn “Rapid Japanese” from the library and I swear the English speaker sounds just like Abroad in Japan lol

  61. Hello if you see this comment can you please message me I am a high school student in America who wants to move to Japan I just have some questions about moving there

  62. Why the world is hording toilet paper…..? Us water to clean ur ass wtf ahahahah

  63. Increased personal hygiene? I already give Japan the gold standard in personal hygiene. How much more can it be?

  64. Hey Chris I’m headed to Japan in two weeks for an exchange program, do you think it is safe to travel in Japan?

  65. Just got into Tokyo if your free for a drink? I literally don't have any idea where I'm going. All I know is I'm heading to the Gundam statue and who knows from there.

  66. People are going to think I'm panic buying. We always buy 24pk of toilet roll.

  67. I've just come back from 2 weeks in Japan, and I was in Kyoto between 27th Feb-1st Mar. and it wasn't quiet at all. Arashiyama, Kiyomizudera and Kinkaku-ji were all rammed on my visits (admittedly they were mostly young Japanese, which makes sense since they closed the schools.)

  68. Any more updates for southern japan osaka nara etc? do you think its safe or still overblown?

  69. Europe is out of mask s month ago all seelt to China, politics say mask dondt help, there fucking excuse, sients say also in Europe a USA mask dondt help, the discipline in some Asian countries so Great, most use Mask, the help not 100 Prozent OK but the helpful.

  70. We left Kyoto on March 2, and visited many of its famous gardens where we were able to see them nearly by ourselves. It was marvellous. Returning home, we thought we should take precautions, and are self quarantining for two weeks. We tried social distancing, but as we described to people that we were trying to maintain meter plus distance from people, we felt stigma, and then believed we might be blamed in our small community should anyone get sick. And that might even be true, as a carrier may be a symptomatic. Being retired, it was an easy decision to just stay home, and send a friend to collect mail and groceries.

  71. China: Shuts down whole cities deep cleans whole towns, builds new hospitals.

    Italy: Quarantines the whole of northan Italy, suspends all public transport, cancels large events.

    England and Japan: Buys all the toilet paper…?

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