The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the Hurricane and Typhoon Seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane and Typhoon Season will last through November 2018, though most tropical cyclones typically develop between May and October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that those in hurricane- and typhoon-prone regions begin preparations for the upcoming seasons now. This Travel Alert expires on December 1, 2018.
Western and Central Pacific:
Typhoon season in the Western and Central Pacific runs from June 1 to November 30. NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) predicts an 80 percent chance of a near or above normal season. CPHC expects three to six tropical cyclones to affect the central Pacific this season. For information on typhoon warnings, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu, the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) Tokyo – Typhoon Center.
For information on the Atlantic Basin and the Eastern Pacific, visit Travel.State.Gov.
In the past, U.S. citizens were forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. If you are planning to travel to regions of the world often affected by hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones, visit our Tropical Storm Season – Know before You Go page for more information about the potential dangers and inconveniences associated with your travel before finalizing plans.
If you live in or are traveling to storm-prone regions, prepare by organizing a kit in a waterproof container that includes a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, any medications taken regularly, and vital documents, especially your passport and other identification. Emergency shelters often provide only very basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies. For additional tips, visit NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as the U.S. Embassy’s Emergency Preparedness page.
For further information about security in Japan:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Japan Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of either the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. Consulates in Japan.
- You can also follow Tokyo American Citizen Services on Twitter @ACSTokyo and Facebook.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call 1-888-407-4747toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Stay Connected in Japan
Recent events in and around Japan including natural disasters should remind U.S. citizens living and traveling in Japan of the importance of staying connected and having access to late breaking local emergency information. The following suggestions will help keep you and your loved ones informed and safe during your time in Japan.
Crisis Information is Practically Everywhere in Japan
During your time in Japan, you may see alerts for events as diverse as heavy rain, excessive heat, landslides, and earthquakes. Make the U.S. Embassy’s website your first stop: it has an extensive list of emergency resources.
The Japanese government uses a variety of avenues to reach people in affected regions. For example, during a Japanese television program, an alarm may chime, and an alert may scroll across the top of the screen for a minute or so. In some communities, loudspeakers outside may blast warnings as well. These are parts of the Japanese government’s “J-Alert” emergency broadcasting system that sends crisis information to the public. “J-Alert” even pushes messages to radios and cellphones. “J-Alert” can provide early warning emergency alerts on earthquakes predicted in a specific area, sometimes seconds before the earthquake hits. It also provides warnings about other threats such as missile launches.
The Japan Meteorological Agency, a primary source for many of the crisis alerts in Japan, has a webpage in English. Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat has a portal website with information on civil protection. If you can’t understand Japanese but are hearing or seeing emergency messages, pay attention and ask people around you what it means – it may be very helpful!
Japanese Government–Provided Emergency Information is Available Through Apps, in English
The Japan Tourism Organization has made available an android and iPhone app called “Safety tips” that “pushes” information alerts to users about disasters in multiple languages, including English! For more information about this app, check out the JNTO website and this press release. The NHK World app also provides Japanese government emergency alerts via “Push Notification” service in English. Both of these apps push “J-Alerts” in English to your cell phone.
Establish Your Personal Social Network – Get to Know People Around You
Whether you have been living in Japan one day or 1,000 days, many times the best information comes from people in your network of local and expatriate friends, acquaintances, and business contacts. This is especially important if you are unable to read and speak Japanese. If you are a tourist, your social network could be as simple as the front desk in your hotel or even the cashier at the local coffee shop!
Social Media Can Be a Supplemental Source of Useful Information
Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be useful for timely updates. Visit the websites of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate near you to learn how to sign up for our official feeds. These can be helpful supplements to information sent through the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program – STEP. See the end of this message for a list of the Consulates in Japan, their locations, and their contact information.
Information on the Radio
Japan’s cellular network is very resilient and can be expected to remain in service even after a major earthquake with minimal interruptions; however, if cell service isn’t available after a disaster, you can receive emergency information in English over local radio stations such as AFN (American Forces Network) or InterFM (English language news alerts). Some stations to monitor are:
- AFN Tokyo (810kHz, AM)
- AFN Iwakuni (1575kHz, AM)
- AFN Sasebo (1575kHz, AM)
- AFN Okinawa (89.1MHz, FM)
Personal Preparedness Starts at Home
Once a disaster happens, it’s too late to prepare. Get your “Go Bag” together and work with your family to come up with a plan to communicate and find each other in the case of a crisis. Don’t forget about your pets when making plans! For ideas on how to stock your “Go Bag” or emergency kit, visit FEMA’s website. Tourists should visit the Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist for ideas on how to have a safe trip.
Disaster Prevention (Bousai) Information May Be Available from Your Local Government
Your local municipality may already have Disaster Prevention (“Bousai” or “Bosai” in Japanese) information ready for residents and visitors online. Prefectural, city, and even ward-office disaster prevention and preparedness information may be in English or have links to other useful resources. Below is a selected list of disaster prevention websites for major population centers in Japan. There may be many more resources available to you. Do a web search with the word “bousai” and the town or region you are interested in, and you may even find information in English!
Tokyo Metropolitan Area:
For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services Unit (ACS) of either the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. Consulates in Japan.
U.S. Embassy Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
After Hours: 03-3224-5000
The U.S. Embassy serves Americans in Tokyo, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Yamagata and Yamanashi.
11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543
Serving Americans in Osaka, Aichi, Ehime, Fukui, Gifu, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kochi, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Okayama, Shimane, Shiga, Tokushima, Tottori, Toyama, and Wakayama prefectures.
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor
1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001
Tel (052) 581-4501
Fax: (052) 581-3190
Providing emergency consular services only (including death and arrest cases) for Americans living in Aichi, Gifu, and Mie prefectures.
5-26, Ohori 2-chome
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052
Serving Americans in Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga and Yamaguchi prefectures.
Kita 1-jo, Nishi 28-chome
Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0821
Serving Americans in Akita, Aomori, Hokkaido, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.
2-1-1 Toyama, Urasoe City
Serving Americans in Okinawa and the Amami Oshima Island group