Japanese COVID-19 Vocabulary: Vaccine, PCR Test and Cross-border Travel

While a lot of pandemic-related jargon has turned into common buzzwords, it’s still important for anyone to learn Japanese COVID-19 vocabulary if they want a hassle-free trip to Japan. 

As of October 1, the Japanese government has fully lifted its COVID-19 state of emergency following a substantial decrease in newly infected cases nationwide. The country is looking to loosen border enforcement in hopes to resume international travel and business operations.

Additionally, quarantine requirements for short-term business travelers will be cut to three days (for vaccinated visitors). Tourists are not included, but the government plans to put in place relevant policy changes by next month.

This means you’ll have to learn — or at least get to know — coronavirus-related Japanese words sooner or later. Still, it can be tough to maneuver all the strict travel procedures when you’re learning Japanese from zero. Fear not — we’re diving into some of the essential coronavirus-related phrases in this article.

What we know about Japan’s COVID-19 travel restrictions so far

Coronavirus-related measures are subject to change due to the constant updating of information. It is essential that you always check for updates and the latest guidance from the official government website.

For details about the test certificate requirements, please see the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Issued vaccination passports in Japan

In July, Japan’s local wards have begun accepting applications for COVID-19 vaccine certificates (also referred to as “vaccination passports”) for Japanese residents. The passport enables people to cut down their lengthy quarantine days. Depending on the destination, they can even travel without any quarantine requirements.

Only people who are fully vaccinated may apply for vaccine passports. Certificates are processed for free by your local municipal office

Currently, the issued vaccination certificate is only available in paper format. The Japanese government is planning to introduce a digital application system and online vaccine passports by the end of this year.

As of October 2021, 46 countries and regions have agreed to relax entry measures for vaccine passport holders traveling from Japan. To find out which countries accept vaccination certificates, visit the website of the Ministry and Foreign Affairs. 

Where and how to apply vaccination passports in Japan

You can receive for COVID-19 vaccine passport by submitting an application via post, in-person or online (depending on your local wards). The vaccine passport application form can be downloaded from the official website.

Any of the methods made by your local ward will still require the following documents:

  • vaccine passport application form
  • proof of vaccination
  • copy of your passport
  • copy of your vaccination coupon

Scroll down for vaccine-related Japanese vocabulary.

COVID-19 measures for cross-border travel to Japan

While ease in entry restrictions begin to take into effect, the Japanese government is still taking measures for inbound travelers. Regardless of your vaccination history, status and nationality, you will need to do the following.

  • Submission of negative PCR test certificate 72 hours before scheduled departure time
  • Individual written pledge
  • Submission of questionnare
  • Submission of coronavirus vaccine certificate (if available)

Quarantine measures in Japan

A vaccination certificate allows travelers to be exempt from the 14-day waiting period. As reported by Japan Times, the government announced that it would further shorten the usual period of self-isolation for vaccinated people from 14 to 10 days.

Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow up on updates on border enforcement.

Essential COVID-19 vocabulary in Japanese

Once you’ve passed the borders (congratulations!), you’ll be exposed to a series of now-common coronavirus terms and phrases. You’ll be hearing them everywhere, from train announcements to local news. No matter your Japanese level, it’s worth checking these terms before heading deep into the country.

Novel coronavirus新型コロナウイルスShingata korona uirusu
Infected person感染者Kansensha
Infection spread感染拡大Kansen kakudai
Infection prevention感染予防Kansen yobo
Social distancing社会距離戦略Shakai kyori senryaku
Social distancingソーシャルディスタンスSosharu disutansu
Wear a maskマスク着用masuku chakuyo
Close-contact person濃厚接触者
Noko sesshokusha
Mild case軽症Keisho
Serious case重症Jyusho

Japanese COVID-19 vocabulary for PCR tests and questionnaires

Regardless if you’re on a short business trip from overseas or coming into Japan as an international student, you may be asked to take the PCR test (検査) and fill out an inspection questionnaire. Here are some trickier words you’ll likely encounter at the airport. 

PCR TestPCR検査PCR kensa
Inspection Certificate検査証明Kensa shomei
Test result date結果判明日Kekka hanmei-bi
Testing method検査法Kensa-ho
Nucleic acid amplification test核酸増幅検査Kakusan zofuku kensa
Next-generation sequence次世代シーケンス法Jisedai shikensu-ho
Quantitative antigen test抗原定量検査Kogen teiryo kensa
Collected sample採取検体Saishu kentai
Nasopharyngeal (nose) swab鼻咽頭ぬぐい液Hana into nugui-eki
Oropharyngeal (throat) swab咽頭ぬぐい液の混合Into nugui-eki no kongo
Tested positive陽性Yousei
Tested negative陰性Insei
Test result date結果判明日Kekka hanmei-bi
Date and time of sample collection検体採取日時Kentai saishu nichiji
Name of medical institution医療機関名Iryo kikan-mei
Doctor’s name/signature医師名Ishimei
Antigen*抗原検査Kogen kensa
Rapid antigen*迅速抗原検査Jinsoku kogen kensa
Antibody*抗体検査Kotai kensa

*Not valid tests in Japan

Other Japanese words to keep in mind when filling out forms

Full name氏名Shimei
Passport numberパスポート番号Pasupoto bango
Date of birth生年月日Seinengappi
Date of issue交付年月日 Kofu nengappi

Click here to download an example of the certificate of testing for COVID-19.

Important Japanese words related to travel restrictions and COVID-19 measures

Travel history渡航歴Tokoreki
Travel ban渡航禁止Toko kinshi
No entry入国不可Nyukoku fuka
Home confinement/Stay at home自宅待機Jitaku taiki
Entry ban入国拒否Nyukoku kyohi
Entry restrictions入国制限Nyukoku seigen
Overseas travel海外渡航Kaigai toko

Japanese COVID-19 vocabulary on vaccines and vaccination passports

Whether it’s issued in or outside Japan, you may hear some of these vaccine-related Japanese words. Current Japanese vaccine certificates are provided in both English and Japanese — but what happens if an immigration officer directly asked for your ワクチン接種証明?

Vaccinationワクチン接種Wakuchin sesshu
Occupational vaccine職域接種Shokuiki sesshu
Vaccination ticket接種券Sesshu-ken
Vaccination certificateワクチン接種証明Wakuchin sesshu shoumei
Pharmaceutical company製薬会社Seiyakukaisha
Medical certificate診断書Shindansho
Vaccination recordワクチン接種記録書Wakuchin sesshu kiroku-sho
First dose1回目接種Ikkaime sesshu
Second dose2回目接種Nikaime sesshu
Vaccine typeワクチン種類Wakuchin shurui
Product name製品名Seihinmei
Lot/serial number製造番号Seizo bango
Country of vaccination接種国Sesshu-koku
Certificate issuance authority証明書発行社Shomeisho hakkosha
Certificate ID証明書IDShomeisho ID
Certificate issue date証明証発行年月日Shomeisho hakko nengappi

To find out which countries accept vaccination certificates, visit the website of the Ministry and Foreign Affairs.

Want to test your skill? Take our quick five-minute quiz and find out if you’ve mastered these vocabularies!