Japan Travel: Staying Safe and Secure

Fukushima nuclear power plant and surrounding area

After the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, the Japanese authorities have implemented restrictions in the surrounding area to protect people from potential exposure to radiation. These restrictions include travel bans and overnight stay bans, and the restricted areas are clearly marked. It is essential to follow the instructions of the local authorities to ensure your safety.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry provides assistance to residents affected by the nuclear incidents, offering support in overcoming the challenges they face.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula

The security situation on the neighboring Korean Peninsula can be volatile, with tensions potentially escalating before, during, and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests. Military exercises and activities can also contribute to heightened tension in the region. It is crucial to remain vigilant and stay informed about the current situation. Follow the instructions provided by the local authorities, including the guidance on civil protection from the Cabinet Secretariat.

The Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal is an essential resource for staying updated on civil protection measures in Japan.

Crime

Crime against foreigners in Japan is generally low. However, it is important to be cautious, as petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse snatching can occur from time to time. Exercise caution, especially in entertainment and nightlife districts, particularly in Tokyo’s Kabukicho, Roppongi, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro areas.

If you become a victim of a crime, make sure to file a police report at the nearest police station. In some cases, local police may be hesitant to prepare a report for foreigners. If this situation arises, you can seek assistance from the Embassy of Canada to Japan.

Drug Trafficking

An increasing number of travelers have reported being unknowingly used as drug couriers. It is crucial to be aware that penalties for drug-related criminal activities in Japan are severe. Even individuals who unknowingly transport packages containing narcotics can face criminal charges and lengthy jail sentences. Exercise caution and be wary of anyone, even those you know, who asks you to carry a package to Japan on their behalf.

The provided useful links, “Drugs, alcohol, and travel,” and “International Drug Smuggling Scams” offer further information and guidance on this issue.

Spiked Food and Drinks

To ensure your safety, never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be cautious when accepting snacks, beverages, gum, or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as these items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault, robbery, or other dangers.

There have been incidents where staff or other customers at bars and nightclubs have mixed drugs and excessive amounts of alcohol into drinks of unsuspecting clients. These incidents are more frequent in Tokyo’s Kabukicho and Roppongi districts. The intention is usually to deceive, overcharge, rob, or assault the unsuspecting individuals.

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud can occur in Japan. Incidents of overcharging at bars and clubs have been reported, sometimes leading to violence. To protect yourself, exercise caution when using debit or credit cards. Pay close attention when your cards are being handled by others, use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside banks or businesses, and avoid using card readers with irregular or unusual features. Additionally, cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN. Regularly check your account statements for any unauthorized transactions and contact your financial institution immediately if you notice any irregularities.

The risk of overseas fraud is also present, so it’s essential to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions.

Women’s Safety

Women traveling alone may sometimes experience harassment and verbal abuse in certain situations. Inappropriate physical contact can occur, especially on crowded subways and trains. To address this issue, some subway and train lines offer women-only train cars during rush hours. Women travelers should take note of this option and use it if they feel more comfortable.

Road Safety

Road conditions and safety in Japan are generally good. However, be prepared for narrow roads in some areas. For real-time information and updates on road traffic, you can visit the Japan Road Traffic Information Center’s website.

Public Transportation

Taxis

Taxis in Japan are generally considered safe. To ensure a secure experience, only use officially marked taxis. When taking a taxi, it is advisable to negotiate fares in advance or insist that the driver uses the meter to avoid overcharging. To overcome any language barriers, have your destination written in Japanese as some drivers may not understand English.

The Japan National Tourism Organization provides further guidance on using taxis in Japan.

Train and Subway

Traveling by train and subway in Japan is quick, convenient, and safe. While most signage is in Japanese, English signage is becoming more common, especially in larger cities and popular tourist destinations. This improvement makes navigating the train and subway systems easier for international travelers.

General Safety Information

For emergency information and advice specifically catered to tourists, the Japan National Tourism Organization is an invaluable resource. They provide comprehensive information to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors.

Air Travel

It is important to note that we do not assess the compliance of foreign domestic airlines in Japan with international safety standards. If you are planning to fly with a foreign domestic airline, it is recommended to gather information about their safety records and reviews before booking your flight.

The provided information on foreign domestic airlines can help you make an informed decision when choosing an airline for your travel needs.

In conclusion, while Japan is generally a safe and secure country to visit, it is essential to remain cautious and informed about potential risks and safety measures. By following the advice and instructions of the local authorities and utilizing the resources available, you can have a pleasant and worry-free travel experience in Japan.

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