State Department Issues ‘Do Not Travel' Warning for Japan As Olympics Near
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also updated its guidance, classifying Japan under its "Level 4" advisory.
The U.S. State Department warned Americans against traveling to Japan on Monday, classifying the country under its highest warning level just months before the Olympic Games are set to start.
The department placed Japan under a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory due to its rise in COVID-19 cases. While the warning level is at its highest possible, the U.S. has not outright banned Americans from flying to the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also updated its guidance on Monday, classifying Japan under its "Level 4" advisory. And while the agency has said fully-vaccinated Americans can travel at low risk to themselves, it warned "Because of the current situation in Japan even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan."
The ban could potentially affect some American athletes' decisions on whether to travel to Japan to compete in the Olympic Games, set to open on July 23 after being postponed for a year. Overseas spectators have already been banned from attending the summer games.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the updated State Department warning does not prohibit essential travel and added Washington has told Tokyo it is not related to participation of the U.S. Olympic team, according to The Associated Press.
"We believe there is no change to the U.S. position supporting the Japanese government's determination to achieve the games," Kato said.
Several areas of Japan remain under a State of Emergency.
Additionally, the country's vaccine rollout has been relatively slow: Only 5.2% of people have received at least one dose, while only 2.3% have been fully vaccinated, according to Reuters, which is tracking the global vaccine rollout.
To help, the country has launched mass vaccination centers with the goal of inoculating 10,000 people per day in Tokyo and 5,000 per day in Osaka.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.