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Locating a Person

In an emergency the Embassy or our Consulates will attempt to locate Americans who are believed to be in Japan and are not in communication with family or friends.

Inquirers should be aware, however, that the Privacy Act prevents us from providing information about an individual unless the subject of the inquiry gives his/her permission. If s/he does not give such permission, our only alternative after the individual has been located is to inform him or her that relatives or others are concerned and ask him or her to communicate with them directly.

We maintain no comprehensive listing of Americans in Japan, though many Americans voluntarily enrolled with our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you are asking us to attempt to locate an American, our chances of success are greatly enhanced if you can provide his/her full name, date of birth and any recent contact information you may have for him/her in Japan.

We cannot locate non-Americans, such as Japanese friends. Persons serving in the U.S. military in Japan are located by contacting the person’s service branch (Army, Marines, etc.) directly.

We cannot send, forward or receive mail on behalf of American citizens.

Locating a Service Member

We do not have access to any directory of servicemembers in Japan or elsewhere, but there is a procedure you may wish to try if you need to locate a specific service member.

  • Write a letter to the soldier. Place this letter in a sealed and stamped envelope, including your full name and return address.
  • Write a letter addressed to the National Personnel Records Center requesting their assistance with your search. Be sure to include the service member’s name, serial number and/or social security number, and date of birth if available.
  • Place your envelope addressed to the service member AND the letter to the National Personnel Records Center in ONE envelope. Address this envelope to: National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63138.
  • Please note current addresses for discharged service members are not maintained at the records center – this center only has the service member’s last officially recorded address. Letters to service members that the record center cannot identify, or who are known to be deceased, will be returned to you.

Other Resources

  • Japanese citizens living in Japan may be located through their family register which contains civil records held at the city, ward or town office where the family has its permanent address. The family register can be released only to the family member or a lawyer practicing in Japan. The Embassy cannot obtain these documents on your behalf.
  • Follow this link for additional information from the Department of State about welfare and whereabouts inquiries.
  • Need translation help? Unfortunately, we cannot provide translators. We do, however, have list of professional translators available.