Should I Cancel My Trip to Japan?


While we try to focus on the happiness that the parks in Asia bring people, our inbox has flooded in the last few weeks with questions from fellow Explorers about what’s going on with North Korea and Japan, and whether they should reconsider their travel plans to Japan.

This is a tough topic because these are things that I don’t talk about here. However, because of the volume of questions I have received in the past few weeks, I thought I’d take a moment to address this.

What is actually happening?

North Korea has fired a number of test missiles in recent weeks.

As of this writing, two missiles have flown over the Hokkaido region in the northern part of Japan. Sapporo, the largest city in Hokkaido, is roughly 820km (500 miles) north of Tokyo. Tokyo and Chiba (the prefecture where Tokyo Disney Resort is located) have not been included in the areas put on notice during either of these missile events.

No missiles have actually hit anything in Japan, but rather have landed in bodies of water. The most recent missile landed in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 2000km (1240 miles) from Japan’s shore.

Should you be concerned?

On this note, I can’t really tell you how to feel. However, I believe information is the best tool to combat fear. Being well-read and up to date on the latest developments from reputable news sources will make sure you’re being properly informed about what’s going on. The sites I use are Japan Today and The Japan Times.

I also strongly suggest keeping up to date on and following the recommendations of your national government on whether they are cautioning against travel to Japan or have issued other updates and advisories. You can learn more by visiting your country’s travel advice website:

The Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site has an excellent information package in English that goes into detail about how to protect yourself in the unlikely event something happens.

Am I Worried?

Waking up to an alert on TV saying there is a missile going over Japan isn’t the most comforting news. When you see that, any normal person would become a bit nervous (which I was).

With that said, am I worried? The answer is no. I won’t allow fear to overtake my life here in Japan, but that doesn’t mean I won’t stay informed.

I am registered with the Canadian Embassy, which allows them to contact me or send out a notification in case of an emergency. I recommend you do the same with your embassy, which is a good thing to do when you travel in general. Here’s a list of a few places to register.

About Cancelling Travel

There are a number of considerations to take into account if you ultimately decide to cancel your travel plans.

Your airline may not offer a full refund for your ticket based on the type of fare you’ve purchased, hotels may keep a deposit if you’ve paid for them in advance, and other reservations may require a full forfeiture of what you’ve paid if you choose to cancel them.  It’s best to read the fine print on everything to fully understand what you’re giving up and whether you can get any of your money back if canceling is something you choose to do.

When it comes to Tokyo Disney Resort, they do not offer refunds on park tickets once they’ve been purchased. Fixed date tickets can have their dates changed provided the change is made prior to the ticket’s expiry date. In some cases, that date change needs to be made at a ticket window at the park and may cost a small fee. You can learn more about the park’s policies regarding this on their website.

If you have purchased travel insurance for your trip (and we strongly recommend people always buy travel insurance), consult your policy to see what, if any, coverage is provided for canceling portions or all of your trip.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the decision to cancel a trip is up to you. Knowing what I know about the current situation, I wouldn’t cancel a trip, but I can’t tell you one way or the other what you should do in that regard.

However, I advocate being well-informed about current events via reputable news sources (like the ones I mentioned above) and your national government in making any decision related to whether you should travel.

Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash.

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  • Jo Cowan

    Wise advice. Staying up to date is important.

  • Jane Elsworth

    You must have been reading my mind! I am considering a trip to TDL in June next year and this has been on my mind. But like you I feel I will just continue with my plans, but keep an eye on things. I am registered with the Aust Govt re any changes in their warnings for Japan and my corporate travel policy may cover cancellation so I figure I really don’t want to miss an opportunity to visit. Especially as I will be coming to celebrate my daughter’s 16th birthday 🙂