Japan Travel Health Insurance – Country Review

Learn more about Japan Travel Health Insurance with an overview from the CDC and the US State Department. Here we cover Vaccines, Medicines and Insurance.

At AardvarkCompare we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following advice should help you make the most of your trip to Japan.

Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.

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Japan Travel Health – CDC

All travelers

You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.

Vaccines and Medicines

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.

Routine vaccines

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Some travelers

Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.

Hepatitis A

CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Japan, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

Hepatitis B

You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.

Japanese Encephalitis

You may need this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in Japan and what time of year you are traveling. You should also consider this vaccine if you plan to visit rural areas in Japan or will be spending a lot of time outdoors, even for trips shorter than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. See more in-depth information on : Japanese Encephalitis in Japan.

Rabies

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Japan, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).
  • People who are taking long trips or moving to Japan
  • Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.

Stay Health and Safe

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Japan, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and Drink Safely

Food and water standards in Japan are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. However, travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Japan. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below) .
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY: Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
    • IR3535
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs. For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Japan include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity during high temperatures.
    • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation: use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.
Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.
Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the Japan embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website (www.jointcommissioninternational.org).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Walking

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Japan may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Japan, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver’s license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy’s international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.

Flying

  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.
The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

Traffic flows on the left side of the road in Japan.

  • Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
  • LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.
  • Maintain personal security

    Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

    Before you leave

    • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
    • Monitor travel warnings and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
    • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
    • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
    • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

    While at your destination(s)

    • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate.
    • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
    • Follow all local laws and social customs.
    • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
    • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
    • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

    Healthy Travel Packing List

    Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Japan for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

    Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

    It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

    After Your Trip

    If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

    For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel.

    Japan Travel Health – The US State Department

    U.S.- JAPAN RELATIONS

    Japan is one of the world’s most successful democracies and largest economies. The U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity. The Alliance is based on shared vital interests and values, including: the maintenance of stability in the Indo-Pacific region: the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms; support for human rights and democratic institutions; and, the expansion of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community as a whole.

    The U.S.-Japan Alliance was strengthened in 2015 through the release of the revised U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines, which provide for new and expanded forms of security-oriented cooperation. Japan provides bases as well as financial and material support to U.S. forward-deployed forces, which are essential for maintaining stability in the region. In January 2016 the United States and Japan signed a new five-year package of host nation support for U.S. forces in Japan. In December 2016, the United States returned a major portion of the Northern Training Area, nearly 10,000 acres, reducing the amount of land utilized by the United States on Okinawa by close to 20 percent.

    Because of the two countries’ combined economic and diplomatic impact on the world, the U.S.-Japan relationship has become global in scope. The United States and Japan cooperate on a broad range of global issues, including development assistance, global health, environmental and resource protection, and women’s empowerment. The countries also collaborate in science and technology in such areas as brain science, aging, infectious disease, personalized medicine, and international space exploration. We are working intensively to expand already strong people-to-people ties in education, science, and other areas.

    Japan and the United States collaborate closely on international diplomatic initiatives. The United States consults with Japan and the Republic of Korea on policy regarding North Korea. The United States coordinates with Japan and Australia under the auspices of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue and the Security and Defense Cooperation Forum. The United States and Japan coordinate with India trilaterally and in the U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations. In Southeast Asia, U.S.-Japan cooperation advances maritime security and economic development.

    Outside Asia, Japanese political and financial support has significantly assisted U.S. efforts on a variety of global issues arising, including countering ISIL and terrorism, working to stop the spread of the Ebola and other emerging pandemic infections, advancing environmental goals, maintaining solidarity in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, assisting developing countries, countering piracy, and standing up for human rights and democracy. Japan is an indispensable partner in the United Nations and the second-largest contributor to the UN budget. Japan broadly supports the United States on nonproliferation and nuclear issues.

    The United States established diplomatic relations with Japan in 1858. During World War II, diplomatic relations between the United States and Japan were severed in the context of the war that followed Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After years of fighting in the Pacific region, Japan signed an instrument of surrender in 1945. Normal diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1952, when the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, which had overseen the postwar Allied occupation of Japan since 1945, disbanded. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States was signed in 1960.

    U.S. Assistance to Japan

    The United States provides no development assistance to Japan.

    Bilateral Economic Relations

    The U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship features substantial trade and investment flows. However, the United States’ goods trade deficit with Japan is its third-largest one in the world. U.S. economic policy toward Japan seeks to address this trade deficit through free, fair, and reciprocal trade. In particular, the United States aims to expand access to Japan’s markets, increase two-way investment, stimulate domestic demand-led economic growth, promote economic restructuring, improve the climate for U.S. investors, and raise the standard of living in both countries.

    Japan represents a major market for many U.S. goods and services, including agricultural products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, films and music, commercial aircraft, nonferrous metals, plastics, medical and scientific supplies, and machinery. U.S. imports from Japan include vehicles, machinery, optic and medical instruments, and organic chemicals. U.S. direct investment in Japan is mostly in the finance/insurance, manufacturing, and wholesale sectors. Japanese direct investment in the United States is mostly in the wholesale trade and manufacturing sectors.

    The U.S.-Japan partnership in the areas of science and technology covers a broad array of complex issues facing our two countries and the global community. Under the auspices of the U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Agreement, our two countries have collaborated for over 25 years on scientific research in areas such as new energy technologies, supercomputing, and critical materials. In recognition of these achievements, the United States and Japan announced in 2014 an extension of our bilateral Science and Technology Agreement for an additional 10 years. The U.S.-Japan Comprehensive Dialogue on Space reflects our deepening cooperation in space.

    On January 11, 2016, both countries celebrated the 50thanniversary of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program, which has grown over time to encompass attention to health threats affecting other Pacific Rim nations, particularly in Southeast Asia.

    Japan’s Membership in International Organizations

    Japan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, G7, G-20, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, ASEAN Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Japan is also a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and an observer to the Organization of American States. In 2019, Japan will assume the G-20 presidency and host numerous ministerial meetings as well as the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Japan.

    Bilateral Representation

    Japan maintain an embassy in the United States at 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-238-6700).

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