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Welcome to our guide on emergency preparedness in Japan. Whether you’re a resident or a traveler, being ready for potential crisis is crucial. Here’s how you can get yourself prepared.

Stay Informed Before Emergencies

Safety Tips App

What are your biggest concerns about living in or traveling to Japan? Earthquakes? Public transportation? Language barriers? The “Safety tips” app launched by the Japan Tourism Agency can help you! Download it today and stay safe during your time in Japan. Here is instruction how to install and use the app.

Japan’s “J-Alert” System

The Japanese Government has an emergency broadcasting system called “J-Alert.” This system ensures that critical information reaches people in affected regions during various crises, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, civil protection, and more.

“J-Alert” employs various methods to communicate with the public. For example, an alarm may chime during TV programs and an alert message may scroll across the top of the screen. Loudspeakers stationed in communities may broadcast warnings. This system extends to radios and cell phones. “J-Alert” also warns 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.

Social Media for Latest Updates

Stay connected with us through social media for timely updates and important information.

Twitter: @ACSTOKYO
Facebook: @ACSTOKYO

Radio Information

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)

Emergency Phone Numbers in Japan

An emergency phone call can be made free of charge from any phone, including public pay phones in Japan. Learn how to make an emergency call and communicate with the dispatcher.

Ambulance – Dial 119
Fire – Dial 119
Police – Dial 110

Types of Disasters

Role of the Embassy

The Japanese Government will be responsible for assisting foreigners immediately after a major disaster. Telephone services will be severely overloaded, and the Japanese Government will restrict phone use to priority users. Nonetheless, the Embassy will quickly want to ascertain the welfare and whereabouts of American Citizens.

To aid in this process, American citizens should cooperate with Japanese authorities at evacuation sites and clearly identify themselves as Americans. Those connected with larger organizations such as companies, schools, or church groups should try to let these organizations know of their welfare and whereabouts if this is practical.

The Embassy will be in touch with the Japanese Government and with larger umbrella organizations to attempt to identify as many American citizens as possible and determine their welfare.

We will pass as much information as possible, and subject to the Privacy Act, about the welfare of individual U.S. citizens back to the Department of State in Washington, D.C. so that this information may be shared with your families, friends, and employers.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan

Consular Districts within U.S. Mission Japan

Consular District Map

Preparations Before a Disaster


Be proactive and ready for any situation – Get your “Go Bag” and “Stay Bag” together. If you have pets, don’t forget about them. Visit FEMA’s website for ideas on how to build your Go Bag or emergency kit. You can also download our printable checklists.

Essential Supplies (Store enough for three to five days)

  • Water (four liters/one gallon per person per day. Change water every three to five months).
  • Food (canned or pre-cooked, requiring no heat or water. Consider special dietary needs, infants, the elderly, and pets).
  • Flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs.
  • Radio (battery operated with spare batteries).
  • Large plastic trash bags (for trash, waste, water protection, ground cloth, temporary blanket).
  • Hand soap and/or disinfecting hand cleaner gel that does not require water.
  • Feminine hygiene supplies, infant supplies, toilet paper.
  • Essential medications as required; glasses if you normally wear contacts.
  • Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, cooking foil and plastic wrap (wrapped around plates so that they were re-usable) and paper towels.
  • First Aid kit with instructions.
  • Yen in small bills (ATMs may not work after a disaster), with coins and phone cards for public phones.
  • Place emergency supplies and your telephone in places where they are less likely to be knocked over or buried by falling objects (on the floor under a strong table is a good choice).

Go bag checklist (printable)

Stay bag checklist (printable)

What’s in My Go-Bag

In the event of a natural disaster, it’s important that you have an emergency bag ready to go. Our staff will show you how to prepare one.

Disaster Preparedness – Pet Go-Bag

Don’t forget to prepare a Go-Bag for your furry friends. Check out what our staff has packed for her pet!


  • Secure water heaters, refrigerators, and tall and heavy furniture to the walls to prevent falling.
  • Move heavy items to lower shelves and install latches or other locking devices on cabinets.
  • Install flexible connections on gas appliances.
  • Remove or isolate flammable materials.
  • Move beds and children’s play areas away from heavy objects which may fall in an earthquake.
  • Sign up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to register online with the Embassy or the Consulates. The emergency contact information is on the Embassy’s website.


Effective planning is key to staying safe. Work with your family to come up with a plan to communicate and find each other in the case of a crisis.

  • Draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of exit windows and doors, utility cut off points, emergency supplies, food, tools, etc. Share it with your family, guests, and baby-sitter.
  • Establish family meeting points with alternate sites inside and outside of your home for all members to gather in the event of an evacuation.
  • Establish reunion sites with alternate sites for when the family is not at home, e.g., local shelter, neighbor’s house, park, school.
  • Designate a person outside of your immediate area for separated family members to call to report their location and condition if separated.
  • Learn or establish disaster policy/planning at your children’s school.
  • Know your neighbors and make them aware of the number of people living in your home.
  • Learn where the nearest designated shelter for your neighborhood is located.
  • Photocopy passports and other important documents. Store copies away from home (for example, at work).
  • Learn how to contact the police, fire, and rescue services in Japanese. Be able to provide your address in Japanese.

Immediate Steps After a Disaster

  • Check your immediate surroundings for fire, gas leaks, broken glass, and other hazards.
  • Open doors and/or windows to avoid being locked in if there are after-shocks.
  • Contact one friend or relative in the U.S. and ask them to inform other parties of your situation.
  • Use your social media accounts to share information about your well-being and location with family and friends.
  • Monitor local TV and radio for evacuation information including NHK World news.
  • Utilize NTT’s 171 Disaster Emergency Message Dial.

Japan’s Free Public Wi-Fi in the Event of a Disaster

Japanese telecommunications companies have recently agreed to provide accessible public Wi-Fi (SSID: 00000JAPAN) free of charge during national emergencies or natural disasters. This service reduces the strain on their collective cellular networks and enables international visitors, including those without Japanese SIM cards or international plans, to remain in communication during a crisis. This service is compatible with most types of devices.

Free Japan Wifi


The information above is general information provided to the Embassy by the relevant local authorities and is subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The U.S. Embassy assumes no liability for inaccuracies in the information above. U.S. citizens wishing to obtain any further or more tailored information must contact the relevant local authority.