Header images from the 2023-2024 AJET Photo Contest.


As you all know, Japan is home to a wide range of natural disasters. While this is no reason to live in fear, everyone should take time during their first few weeks here to prepare for emergencies. This means knowing who to call, knowing where local hospitals and police boxes are located, and being prepared both emotionally and materially for whatever emergency you may face. Please see information specifically about natural disasters. Check out this safety tips website or app for more useful information. The app gives real time push notifications in an emergency, including J-Alerts. It also provides evacuation flowcharts, useful phrases, and a function that shows train routes.

Emergency Services

In order to remain calm when you make an emergency call, it is a good idea to keep a note near your telephone of your name, phone number (home and mobile), address and the names of nearby landmarks, buildings, etc. written in English and Japanese.

Ambulance, Fire & Rescue

1. Dial 119  – On public pay phones, just press the red button (this is a free call – you don’t need any money.)

2. Tell the operator what the emergency is:

• If there is a fire: Kaji desu! 火事です!
• For an ambulance: Kyukyusha wo onegai shimasu! 救急車をお願いします!

3. Give the operator your information using the following phrases:

• Your Address:

Jusho wa (you address) desu.


• Nearby landmark to your house:

Ie no chikaku ni (landmark) ga arimasu.


• Your Name:

Watashi wa (name) desu.


• Your Telephone Number:

Denwa bango wa (number) desu.


4. After you have provided this information, do not hang up. Stay on the line until help arrives. If possible, send someone outside to wait for the ambulance, fire trucks or police cars.


1. Dial 110 – On public pay phones, just press the red button (this is a free call – you don’t need any money.)

2. Tell the operator what the emergency is:

• For accidents

Kotsu jiko desu.


• For robberies

Dorobo desu.


• For altercations

Kenka desu.


3. Give the operator your information using the phrases written above

Gas Leaks

If you notice a gas leak, follow these guidelines:

① Do not turn on the ventilation fan, or operate any electrical devices. Sparkscan potentially ignite the gas. Smoking is obviously a no no.
② Close the taps and gas meter valve (see photo). To turn the gas off, turn levers so that they are perpendicular to the pipe and rotate the knob to CLOSE (閉).
③ Open all the windows and doors and sweep gas out the door with a broom (gas is heavier than air and will settle toward the ground.)
④ Call your gas company (get the information from your supervisor) and inform them of the leak. Wait outside until they arrive.

Nation-Wide Helplines

TELL (Tokyo English Life Line)
Provides free phone counseling and referrals.
Phone: 03-5744-0992
9:00 am – 11:00 pm, Daily
URL: www.telljp.com

Japan Help Line
A 24-hour English hotline with a nation-wide network of volunteers.
Phone: 0120-46-1997 (Toll Free)

24 hour, non-profit, nationwide emergency assistance service. Call anytime about anything from simple questions to emergency assistance.
Phone: 0570-000-911
URL: www.jhelp.com

AJET Peer Support Group
The AJET Peer Support Group is a network of JET volunteers available during non working hours every day. All calls are completely confidential and callers can remain anonymous.
Phone: 0120-437-725 (Toll Free)
8:00 pm – 8:00 am, Daily

Emergency Interpreter

If you call 110 or 119 and ask for an interpreter, you will be connected to a 3 way call

Emergency Hospitals

Please see here.

Home Disaster Kit

A good disaster kit should include the following items:

• Drinking water (3 days worth)
• Non-perishable foods (1 weeks worth)
o Canned foods (tuna, etc.)
o Dried fruits & nuts
o Candy bars
• Can food opener

• Flashlights (X2)
• Batteries (AAA, AA, C, D)
• Candles
• Matches & lighters
• Tarps (X2)
• Blankets (X2)
• Pancho/rain jacket
• Gloves

Other disaster advice:

  • Leave a pair of slippers by your bed. If there is ever an earthquake during the night and shattered glass is on the floor of your bed room, this will allow you to get out of the house unscathed.
  • Store your home disaster kit near the front door in an easy to get to place. It is probably not a good idea to put it in a closet, since earthquakes sometimes warp door frames and it may not be possible to open the door.