30 useful tips for travel in Japan
- Emergency Calls in Japan - What You Must Know
- A holiday is usually a time to get away from the normal responsibilities and cares of daily life. However, emergencies can strike at any time and it is best to be prepared. Being in a new country is hard enough when emergency help is needed, but knowing what to do can quite literally be the difference between life and death.
- Essential Numbers
- Japan has a nationwide emergency telephone response network reachable by dialing 119 or 110.
119 in Japan is a nationwide direct-dial emergency number that connects the caller to the fire brigade and emergency medical services. The service works on both mobile and land lines. On certain older pay phones, the number can be dialed by pushing a special button that will automatically connect the caller with the 119 dispatch center without having to push “119”. Although the dispatchers still record the address of the emergency call manually, most systems are now set up to automatically log the location of the call as well.
The 119 system in Japan only services fire and ambulance services. If you need police help, however, you need to call the emergency number, 110.
- Communicating your Emergency
- The obvious problem, then, is language. Operators available in English and other languages are available in the Tokyo metro area and some popular tourist areas. While there is a nationwide program underway to provide English-language training to emergency operators, there is no guarantee you will be able to connect with an operator who can communicate in another language. Making sure you clearly state the nature of the emergency and your location is critical to getting first responders to your location quickly. Some emergency responders may speak English or other languages, but others may not be able to do so. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell ahead of time if an emergency responder is capable of understanding your spoken language. It is best to try in clear, slow English, though, as most Japanese people have received some education in English at school.