US State Department Adds Japan to Its “Level: 4 Do Not Travel” Advisory List

Almost exactly two months away from the first day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the US State Department issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning today, advising US citizens not to travel to the country of Japan.

While that seems particularly dramatic, especially in light of the Olympic Games on schedule to happen in July, dozens of other countries are currently listed in the same category on the State Department’s website, including locations as diverse as Sri Lanka (also listed today), Venezuela, Egypt, Russia, Hungary (location of the 2020 ISL season) Ireland, Mexico, and Laos, just to name a few.

Many of those countries were bumped up to “Level 4” roughly a month ago, when the State Department changed its travel advisories to more closely align with the CDC’s guidelines and take into effect not only currently Covid-19 cases, but also factors like “in-country testing availability and current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens.”

Japan’s coronavirus numbers have steadily risen over the last few weeks, with over 4,000 cases reported in the last 24 hours, according to the World Health Organization, and approximately 86,000 active cases. The number of cases per day is roughly the same as it was when Japan saw a big peak in cases in January, which promoted the country to declare a state of emergency. Much of the country is now once again under a state of emergency as the current rise in cases has strained medical resources, and reports indicate the the government intends to extend that state of emergency past its current expiration date of May 31st.

According to CNN, only 2% of Japan has been vaccinated thus far, while health officials seek to ramp up vaccination efforts in the weeks ahead.

In recent days, some prominent Japanese businessmen have called for the Olympics to be canceled or delayed, prompting IOC officials to provide reassurances that most athletes and officials will be vaccinated and isolated, even as polls indicate that a majority of the Japanese people would like to see the Games postponed or outright canceled.

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Taa
1 month ago

Florida here we come!!!

Hswimmer
1 month ago

Welllll

MIKE IN DALLAS
1 month ago

WHY are all these Japanese naysayers allowed to get away with destroying the OLYMPICS in their own country while NOT lifting a finger to help it be transferred — in whole or in part — to places that CAN help it??????

swimapologist
Reply to  MIKE IN DALLAS
1 month ago

Bro this comment screams of some bizarre form of fascism. Why are they “allowed” to get away with “destroying” the Olympics? You mean the citizens? So like the average Japanese citizen should be calling around and seeing which other countries would take over hosting a massive event with 20,000 people coming to town to participate in 30 different sports + opening and closing ceremonies on 8 weeks’ notice? What are you trying to communicate here other than your hatred for individuals expressing their opinions?

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

100,000 people…and there shouldn’t be a “global celebration of sport” until the suffering & death have subsided…same as WW1 & WW2.

Doconc
Reply to  Breaking Bad News
1 month ago

Jesse Owens would like a word with u

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  Doconc
1 month ago

That was 1936

Sid Frisco
Reply to  Breaking Bad News
1 month ago

So never then?

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  Sid Frisco
1 month ago

Good point, there is always large scale suffering on the planet, however, if we have a clear way to lessen it, why wouldn’t we?…Perhaps, the more essential/practical issue is compassion for the over pressed medical workers. 50% of the nurses have considered quitting. The Olympics will potentially exasperate the situation. I say all this with all due respect to the suffering & sacrifice of the athletes would incur due to a cancellation. Tough tough choice.

Sid Frisco
Reply to  Breaking Bad News
1 month ago

Vis a vie the olympics will make nurses quit. Thanks for the laugh. 60% of the time it works every time.

Meeeeee
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

Huh? I think he is saying that Japan should help to make the Olympics happen in another country. That’s all. Where did you come up with facism?

Chigasaki open water
Reply to  MIKE IN DALLAS
1 month ago

Average citizens are not considering the Olympics. They are only fearing foreigners, not uncommon among some isolated countries. The irony is, nothing is being done in Japan to help their own people. So remove the safety rationale and you are left with the truth…. xenophobia is the real culprit regarding polling numbers for cancelling the Olympics. I’ve been in Tokyo the entire pandemic and can confirm everything. Japan is extremely unsafe already, for its own residents. Packed trains, no social distancing. Two nights ago I saw a store controlling patron numbers at the entrance. That’s the first time in nearly a year and a half!! Trains are a nightmare. They don’t address safety in Japan…. they posture it. Politely. The… Read more »

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  MIKE IN DALLAS
1 month ago

Easy on the caps lock there, Mike.

Chigasaki open water
1 month ago

I live in Tokyo and have been in Japan the entire pandemic. For the first time in over a year since this started, a couple nights ago I saw a store with a waiting line outside. Huh?! What’s this? It can’t be?! I thought. Sure enough, staff were counting numbers and controlling their entry. Shocked, I took a pic for social media. Trains are still packed and out of control. Japan has always been extremely dangerous. If it weren’t for masks, it’d be the worst place. Next year expect vaccines in Japan…

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Chigasaki open water
1 month ago

1945 was a bad year for Japan. 2011 was also fairly dangerous. ‘always’?

Bruh
Reply to  Chigasaki open water
1 month ago

Have lines to get into stores not been a thing literally everywhere else for the past year? In California those just went away probably last week

Chigasaki open water
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

You’ve been in every country the entire pandemic… Uh huh. That’s why I only speak about one. More plausible

sven
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

Haven’t seen anything like that since mid May of 2020 in the midwest

Bubbles
1 month ago

“According to CNN, only 2% of Japan has been vaccinated thus far, while health officials seek to ramp up vaccination efforts in the weeks ahead.”

SwimFan01
Reply to  Bubbles
1 month ago

You would think that a country on the verge of hosting the Olympics would have been ramping up the vaccines months ago!

Willswim
1 month ago

Ugh. I hate this. Tell Ledecky to full taper for trials and time trial all the relays just in case that’s it.

Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

The IOC may get away with a troubled pseudo Olympics with runaway fear from locals, creating tons of awkward media reports. The timetable always should have been 2022, as I emphasized in spring 2020. There was zero chance a once in a century pandemic was going away by mid 2021.

bob
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

I wonder how many athletes have been able to train properly.Canada hasn’t,t had a swim meet in well over a year.

Dee
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Europe is about to host a month long cross continent football championships. The UK, ravaged by covid just a few months ago (2000 deaths per day), will be hosting more matches than any other country. The reason it’s possible? Mass vaccinations.

I’m not sure I can see Tokyo goes ahead with so few vaccinations in Japan. The Games are certainly on the brink.

Anything he swims
Reply to  Dee
1 month ago

The Olympics are happening. Japan already has sporting events much larger and more dangerous taking place during the pandemic. Hakone Ekiden (a collegiate long distance running relay) was unchanged. It went off as normal in January. Millions of spectators lining the streets, 3-4 people deep in many spots… For miles and miles and miles. It was not altered in the slightest from a safety perspective. Crowds were completely unmonitored and uncontrolled, albeit that event is impossible to enforse logistically (and culturally).

The Olympics would be completely different, because foreigners! I just watched a wtcs triathlon (the NBA of triathlon) in Yokohama on May 15th. Athletes couldn’t leave the hotel the entire week before and were only let out to recon… Read more »

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  Anything he swims
1 month ago
commonwombat
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Amen brother !! Nice to know I wasn’t a sole voice.

Just punting it 12 months down the road was always a “just winging it/praying frantically” move by both IOC & Tokyo organisers. Global immunisation was never going to reach sufficient levels, let alone having sufficient knowledge of mutations of the disease, in just a 12 month period whereas 2 years was far more realistic.

Yes, there ARE going to be those competitors who’s “competitive windows” will close over such a period and one feels for them but this is a reality with every year that passes. As for having both Summer & Winter Games in the same year, this was how things were up until 1994.

Hank
1 month ago

I think it’s a good time to reassess the importance and relevance of the Olympics within the sport of swimming. Is World Championships any less important or relevant a meet to the sport in terms of pure performance level? Personally I think WCs comes with less distractions and is more enjoyable to watch as a hardcore swimming fan without all the olympic fanfare. ISL has brought SCM swimming back to worldwide relevance and we’re seeing incredible advances in the sport there. Neither WCs or ISL comes with the undesirable political climate and volatility like the Olympics does.

Xman
Reply to  Hank
1 month ago

Yes – Olympics are important.
1. Non swimmers and athletes watch this
2. Kids watch this with their families and get interested in swimming or other sports that they may not be exposed to otherwise.

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

Yes but at what cost?

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  Hank
1 month ago

True, however, the “historical folklore” of the Olympics cannot be duplicated.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Hank
1 month ago

Without the Olympics, swimming wouldn’t have the tv, ad revenue, sponsorship, etc power that allows for an “enjoyable” World Champs, ISL, etc. Even then those entities are significantly less (hell…has the ISL actually even paid out their athletes yet?).

With swimming being essentially a Top 2 sport for the Olympics (along with T&F), if ever the sport attempted to devalue the Olympics, it would be an absolute death sentence to the long-term viability.