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Japan

Overview

[UPDATED] Travel Notice for Hokkaido in Japan

13 September 2018

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Iburi-chiho, Chutobu at 3 am local time in Hokkaido on 6 September 2018, triggering landslides, power outages and damage to buildings. As of 13 September 2018, New Chitose Airport and shinkansen (bullet trains) services in Hokkaido have resumed normal operations.  

 

As there have been reports of tremors and aftershocks in the area following the strong earthquake, we advise Singaporeans who are either travelling to or already in Hokkaido to exercise caution, remain vigilant, and take the necessary precautions for their personal safety. You should also heed the instructions of the local authorities and closely monitor the local news. Singaporeans whose flights have been affected should check with your airlines or tour operators for up-to-date flight schedules, and may wish to consider alternative travel arrangements.

 

Singaporeans are encouraged to e-Register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/. You are also advised to stay in touch with family and friends so that they know you are safe, purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage. Those in need of consular assistance may contact the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at:

 

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore – Tokyo

5-12-3- Roppongi Minato-ku

Tokyo 106-0032 Japan

Tel: +81-3-35869111, 81-3-35869112 / +81-90-32084122 (24 hours)

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office (24-hours)
Tanglin, Singapore 248163
Tel: 6379 8800, 6379 8855
Email: mfa_duty_officer@mfa.gov.sg

 

Japan is generally a safe country to visit, with low crime and violence. However, we advise Singaporeans travelling or living in Japan to take the necessary precautions and exercise personal responsibility at all times.


Japan is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, snowstorms, flooding, etc.

There were several major disasters in 2018; 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Hokkaido in September, typhoon “Jebi” in Osaka in September, torrential rain in West Japan in July, 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Osaka in June. These have caused power outage, landslides, flood and disruptions to the local transportations in the affected areas. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has also warned that there could be further tremors and aftershocks in the region affected by the major earthquakes.

In the event of an emergency, please follow the advice and instructions of the local authorities. As transportation could be affected in such situations, Singaporeans should check with the respective airlines or tour operators for up-to-date flight schedules, and may wish to consider alternative transport arrangements.

Singaporeans travelling to the affected areas are advised to monitor the local situation at the following websites.

Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) for information on weather, earthquake, typhoon and volcano:  www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html

Local news in English: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/tv/

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) for travel notice: https://www.japan.travel/en/travel-directory/latest-news/travel-advisories-news/

Please stay up to date on the latest weather conditions by checking the JMA’s website. For instance, winter in Japan is known for heavy snowfalls and avalanches, especially in northern parts like Hokkaido. Travellers are advised to make appropriate preparations for driving in winter and possible flight/train delays or cancellations due to adverse weather conditions. These include having adequate medication, food and other necessities, etc. 

There has been a series of nuclear and missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Some of the missiles had entered Japanese airspace. Singaporeans travelling to Japan should remain vigilant and monitor the news to stay updated on the latest developments. In addition to announcements made via public sirens, Japan has introduced a J-Alert system which provides emergency information through local telco. However, please note that J-Alert messages are currently only in Japanese language. For more details on emergency protection measures in the event of a missile attack, please refer to the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat’s Civil Protection Portal (http://www.kokuminhogo.go.jp/en/pc-index_e.html).

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Singaporeans can visit Japan for up to 90 days without a visa.  As visa requirements often change at short notice, we advise you to contact your travel agency, or the Embassy of Japan in Singapore for up-to-date information.

While the crime rate for petty crimes in Japan is generally low, travellers should remain vigilant and ensure that valuables such as passports and cash are not left unattended.  There have been occasional reports of foreigners being targeted for credit card fraud and extortion in Tokyo’s entertainment and nightlife districts. Travellers are advised to avoid touts. Travellers should note that the Japan Police may not provide a copy of the police report of the incident. Instead, a report number (with no content) will be issued to acknowledge that a report has been lodged at the police station. Hence, it may be useful to take note of the Police Station where the report is filed.

The legal age for consuming and purchasing alcohol and tobacco in Japan is 20 years old.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for Singaporeans to drive in Japan. As it is illegal to drive without the original IDP, car rental companies will not be able to rent cars to foreigners who are unable to produce the original IDP. For application procedures, please refer to the website of the Automobile Association of Singapore (https://www.aas.com.sg/our-services/international-driving-permit-idp.html).

Possession of prohibited drugs is a crime and can lead to heavy penalties, including imprisonment and fines. Travellers should note that prohibited drugs can include prescribed drugs for personal consumption. Travellers importing prescribed drugs should check with the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/import/index.html) or the Japanese Embassy on the application for an import certificate, before bringing the drugs into Japan.

The Japan National Tourism Organisation (www.jnto.go.jp/safety-tips/eng) provides safety tips and useful emergency information for travellers to Japan.

The NHK World (mobile) app provides push notifications on disaster and emergency information in English. This includes alerts on earthquake, tsunami, volcano warnings issued by JMA, as well as information from J-Alert. The NHK World app is available for free on Google Play and App Store.

Overseas Travel – Be Informed & Be Safe [8 November 2018]

In view of the upcoming holiday travel season, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorism.  In 2018, disasters such as earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption and typhoon struck our region and beyond, which affected a number of popular tourist destinations.  In addition, threats of terror attack at tourist destinations cannot be ruled out.  It is important for Singaporeans to be informed and be safe while travelling.    

For those planning to travel, here are some tips:

Before travelling

  • Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.
  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.
  • Equip yourself with research about your destination’s current situation, local laws and customs.
  • eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sg) so that we may reach out to you during an emergency.

While travelling

    • Always take care of your personal safety, and remain vigilant and alert to local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
    • Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.
    • Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters or terror attacks.
    • Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.

     
    In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at +65 6379 8800/8855.

     

     

    Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]

    There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas.  These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance.  The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.

    MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously.  Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance.  If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request.  It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc.  Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails.  Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately.  Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest 
    Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.

    Disclaimer

    The information on these Travel Information pages is presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for the purpose of providing information for the benefit and convenience of the public. Every effort has been made to provide accurate and complete information. However, the MFA cannot guarantee that there will be no errors. The MFA recommends that you exercise your own skill and care with respect to your use of this information, and that you carefully evaluate accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance of the material on the Travel Information pages or on any linked site. The Government of the Republic of Singapore does not guarantee, and accepts legal liability arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any materials contained on these Travel Information pages or any linked site. Please refer to Terms of Use for our full Terms of use.