June 17, 2019

J-Alert – Something To Know Before Coming to Japan

One of the aspects (often underestimated) to keep under control before leaving for a trip is safety. In any destination you decide to go, it is important to know which App or systems will be useful in emergencies. If you come to Japan, J-Alert is something you should know!


Japan is a wonderful island.

It is a land covered for more than 50% by mountains and forests that extend not only on the 4 main islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku) but also on the more than 5,000 small islands that surround them, of which more than 400 totally uninhabited.

It is the country where, during the course of the year, the 4 seasons manifest themselves in all their beauty and strength, with very cold winters, very hot summers, and autumns and springs capable of revealing the incredible beauty of nature’s colors.

In short, the land of the Rising Sun is a country that should be discovered in all its nuances during the different seasons of the year.

But like all the natural beauties, there are often small cracks that need particular attention, especially when nature becomes the worst enemy. It is not rare to hear News about sudden earthquakes and tsunamis that hit the country several times during the course of the year.

Japan is in fact located above the “Ring of Fire”, an area of the Pacific Ocean about 40,000 km long, meeting point for various tectonic plates that cause the 90% of the earthquakes worldwide and the home of 75% of active volcanoes present on earth.

Ring Of Fire

The island of earthquakes

Earthquakes are, therefore (unfortunately) a problem with which the Japanese people have become to cohabit, but from which, over time, they have learned to distance themselves through excellent emergency and help systems.

Earthquake-resistant houses and buildings, high-speed trains able to stop thanks to special sensors before the shock reaches them, survival kits that can be purchased in different stores … Nevertheless, as we all know, this dark side of nature continues to be an entity from which man cannot escape, even though the highest technologies.

So how can you protect yourself from a disaster?

Over the years, Japan has developed communication systems capable of alerting entire cities, or rather, entire areas of the country in a few seconds.

Have you ever heard of J-Alert?

Established in 2007, J-Alert is a national communication system capable of alerting entire areas in a matter of seconds that will be affected by one of the following disasters:

Vulcanic eruption
Missilistic attacks

How does it work?

If in the town you are visiting, the Japanese Meteorological Agency expected the arrival of an earthquake, just before his manifestation you will receive an automatic message on your mobile phone.

It is not a downloadable application but an automatic message.

With a completely different ringtone, you will see a message appear on your screen indicating the intensity level and the expected time of the shock.


Avviso Emergenza

J-Alert Message


In the event that the emergency concerns a missile attack, in addition to the telephone message, the sirens scattered around the city will also be involved, along with the automatic switching on of televisions and radios on the NHK station that will provide the news in real time.

Are you wondering if it has ever happened since 2007? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

Due to a North Korean test, in August 2017 all Japanese citizens in the trajectory of the launched missile (which crossed the island of Hokkaido and then jumped into the ocean), were woken by sirens and cell phones at 6 am.

Before coming to Japan …

Before leaving for Japan it is therefore important to save some information on your mobile that could be useful in these cases as:

Site of the Japanese Meteorological Agency, essential to get real-time news on emergencies around the country;

NHK App: If you don’t know it, the NHK is a Japanese TV station in English. From 2018, through its free app, you can receive news about natural disasters.

Ele & Yo