Location: East Asia
Time zone: GMT/UTC plus 9 hours
Daylight savings time: no
Current time: 06:24
Dialling code: +81
Internet suffix: .jp
Japan is an extremely well-developed East Asian country known for its unique culture, cuisine and natural beauty. It performs very well in most travel risk categories but it is vulnerable to natural disasters. Nonetheless, the authorities are amongst the best prepared in the world for dealing with such crises.
Overall security situation: secure
Crime rate: extremely low
Murder rate: extremely low
Gun ownership levels: very low
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: no
Japan is an extremely safe part of the world from a security perspective. The crime rate is very low, with infrequent incidents, good police coverage and a well-resourced judicial system. Access to firearms is strictly controlled. Murders are very rare.
Political demonstrations are overall infrequent, peaceful and professionally managed. Terrorism is also a relatively low risk.
Aviation safety levels: standard (thought to be very high)
Annual road fatality rates: low
Vehicles drive on the: left
Infrastructure quality: excellent
Urban ATM availability: very good
Electricity supply: 100V 50/60Hz
Electricity supply reliability: consistent
Plug types: A and B
Plug type A (2 flat pins, not grounded/earthed)
Plug type B (2 flat pins and 1 rounded pin, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug type A)
Is tap water drinkable: yes
Healthcare quality: among the best healthcare provision in the world
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low*
* Note that there have been numerous cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the country
Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):
- Japanese encephalitis
- Tick-borne encephalitis (usually only for those spending time in at-risk forested areas)
- Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus)
Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: rare/non-existent
Rabies prevalence: rare/non-existent
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: low
Hepatitis B prevalence: intermediate
Hepatitis E prevalence: not highly endemic
Cholera status: low risk
Chikungunya virus presence: not present
Zika virus presence: not recently reported
Japanese encephalitis presence: yes
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: present but low risk
Chagas disease presence: none
Typhoid fever presence: sporadic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: not thought to be present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no
Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous
Natural disaster risk: extremely high (although note that defensive measures are amongst the most comprehensive in the world)
Natural hazards: many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors but occasional severe earthquakes) every year; tsunamis; typhoons (especially between June and December); landslides; flooding
Tropical storms: common
Volcanic activity: both Unzen (elev. 1,500 m) and Sakura-jima (elev. 1,117 m), which lies near the densely populated city of Kagoshima, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Asama, Honshu Island’s most active volcano, Aso, Bandai, Fuji, Iwo-Jima, Kikai, Kirishima, Komaga-take, Oshima, Suwanosejima, Tokachi, Yake-dake, and Usu
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: yes
Government type: parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy
Socio-economic development score: 10/10 (among the highest levels of socio-economic development in the world)
Adult literacy rate: 99%
Unemployment rate: very low
Civil liberties: well respected
Investment rating: investment grade
Corruption levels: low
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: in use
Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
Beliefs: Shintoism 79.2%, Buddhism 66.8%, Christianity 1.5%, other 7.1%; note that the total number of adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism
- The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
- However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
- Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
- Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
- Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.
Safe country guidelines
- Even in relatively safe parts of the world, accidents, illnesses and other incidents can still affect traveller safety.
- Make sure you know how to find help if you need it (such as the local emergency service numbers).
- There may still be a risk of opportunistic crime so be mindful of your belongings and take responsibility for your own actions.
- Be prepared to respond at short notice to any seismic activity.
- Create an emergency plan to follow in the event of an incident that involves a communications breakdown, so you can meet colleagues at a designated meeting point if you are separated and cannot get in contact with one another.
- Practise drills such as “drop, seek cover and hold on” procedure so that you can take shelter as soon as an incident occurs.
- Know the location of your nearest medical kit and medically trained personnel.
- Knowledge of basic first aid will also be very useful.
- Get away from glass or anything that could fall if shaking starts.
- Consider carrying a whistle that can be used to alert first responders in the event that you are trapped after an earthquake – although bear in mind that in some circumstances and/or locations there may not be much in the way of first response capabilities, particularly following a damaging earthquake.
- In the event of an incident, avoid damaged buildings that might still be at risk of collapse.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Note that earthquakes can trigger tsunamis and landslides so be prepared to move out of harm’s way once the shaking has stopped.
- You may need to move very quickly and with limited time.
- If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
- Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
- Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
- Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
- Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
- Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
- As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.
- In at-risk areas, pay attention to official warnings and observe exclusion zone orders.
- Know your evacuation routes and the location of your nearest shelters and medical facilities.
- Familiarise yourself with any official warning systems.
- Ensure that you have sufficient supplies (such as food, water, medications and fuel) as well as good working vehicles so you can leave very quickly if needed.
- Be prepared to react to evacuation orders and actual eruptions at short notice.
- Be prepared for possible travel disruption in the event of an eruption, which could affect flights and lead to congested roads and fuel shortages.
- Depending on the level of risk, consider having a shelter in your accommodation and/or place of work if it is in an area which could be affected by heavy ash fall, as this could provide you temporary shelter in the event of an eruption.
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