This page includes information on:

CLAIR JET Line.......................................................................................03-5213-1729 (9am – 5:45pm)        
AJET Peer Support Group........................................................................050-5534-5566 (8pm – 7am) 
Kumamoto Prefecture International Affairs Division............................096-333-2159  fax: 096-381-3343
Kumamoto Prefecture Board of Education.............................................096-333-2685  fax: 096-384-1563
For a list and map of English-speaking doctors throughout the Kumamoto City area, please click here.  The map may appear a bit crowded and jumbled at first, but if you use the legend on the right, and zoom in a bit, you should be fine (many thanks to Ryan Urie for putting this together). 
Every year public employees are required to go through an annual health check-up.  THIS English translation created by Kumamoto City ALTs can help you understand the results of your examination.  

A translated questionnaire for Japan Red Cross Blood Donation can be downloaded here.        
Some attitudes about sex and sexuality are different in Japan than in our home countries.  As with most places in the world, the most important to things are to be informed and be careful!
Japanese condoms for men tend to be smaller than their western counterparts.  Some JETs get Western-sized condoms sent from home or order them on the Internet (try or  The female condom is sold under the name “MyFemy”
Birth Control Pills:
Birth Control Pills are available in Japan but they cannot be purchased at a public hospital.  They are not very common or popular with Japanese women.  Private hospitals and clinics can distribute the Pill, but some JETs get the Pill sent from home or order them on the Internet   (try ,  You can import one month’s supply at a time and you need to include a prescription from the doctor. 
The Morning-After Pill:
In Japan, the “Morning After Pill” is officially only given in emergencies as it is viewed by many Japanese doctors as unsafe.  In Japanese, it is called ‘kei kou shinin yaku,’ or in katakana ‘moriningu afuta pilu’.  It must be taken within 72 hours after the incident.  It is not covered by national insurance and you cannot get it at a pharmacy without a prescription.  Fukuda Women’s Hospital is the only place in Kumamoto willing to administer this pill. 
HIV/AIDS and other STD Tests:
HIV/AIDS and other STD tests are available for free at Public Health Centers (hankenjo).  The central hankenjo is in downtown Kumamoto City, but there are branch centers in other areas. The tests are anonymous.  You need to return to the center in person a week after the test to get your results.  Gynecologists and General Practitioners can also do the tests if asked but they may cost more.  (SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS)
Fukuda Women’s Hospital is the best place in Kumamoto for women’s health-related concerns. It is located near the central post office and the Kotsu Center in central Kumamoto. The clinic is open weekdays 9:00 - 6:00 and Saturday 9:00 - 6:00.  There are English speaking doctors (Dr. Yamamoto and Dr. Obaru) who are used to working with foreigners.  The phone number is 322-2995.
Pregnancy and Pregnancy Tests:
The home pregnancy test called “Clear Blue” is available at pharmacists (chemists) for about 500Yen.  It is reportedly quite accurate and comes with English instructions. 
If you decide to have a baby in Japan, you need to register the pregnancy at your city/town/village office.  You will be given a mother and child information booklet and the Tokyo Childbirth Education Association (see the JET Diary) has information about pregnancy and childbirth in Japan.
Abortion seems to be the most common way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy in Japan.  It is not covered by insurance and cannot be done after the second trimester. Fukuda Hospital in Kumamoto City is able to do abortions.  While abortion is still a big decision for women (and their partners) to make, there is often minimal counseling offered at the clinic. 
For more information on any of these topics, feel free to contact the Prefectural Advisors.
All inquiries are confidential!
STD/HIV Testing Info
(Last Update . . . Jan. 25, 2010)
For the time being, we have two recommended facilities for HIV/STD testing, both of which are in Kumamoto City (please update this page or inform the PAs of additional clinics, especially those outside the city); they are the Kumamoto Public Health Centers (houkenjo 呆健所) and the Suizenji Hifuka Iin (水前寺皮ふ科医院). 
Public Health Centers (houkenjo 保健所)
There are actually 5 clinics in Kumamoto city that do STD (including HIV) testing. The most centrally located is the Kumamoto City Public Health Center. This facility also has the best hours - weekdays from 9-12 and 1-5. (The other clinics are outposts of the main clinic, one each in the north, south, east, and west sections of the city and are only open one morning per week. [See Kumamoto HIV tests document]) The name of the central clinic in Japanese is Kumamoto-shi Hokenjo and it`s written 熊本市保健所 in kanji. 
Phone number: 096-364-3185
Address: 1-13-16 Kuhonji. 
Kuhonji is the section of Kumamoto City just across the Shirogawa river from downtown. The clinic is on the corner of Ginza Street and the first small road along the east bank of the river.  
Here is a link to a map (in Japanese):
The easiest tram stop is Kumamoto-jyo Mae (called that even though it’s not really in front of Kumamoto Castle) which is on the corner of Ginza Dori in downtown Kumamoto. Go up Ginza Dori toward the river and away from Gusto (the restaurant on stilts). Cross Rt. 3 and go under the overpass to get up onto the bridge ahead of you. The clinic will be the first building on your left on the other side of the bridge. There is a mess of wheelchair ramps leading up to the door so it`s pretty obvious when see it.
The Test:
You can be tested for HIV (simply HIV, or HIV uirusu), Chlamydia (kuramijia), and Syphilis (baidoku). They can do one blood test to check for all three. The test is free and you do not need an appointment.
As you enter the building (on the 2nd floor) there will be a telephone on your right. The number to dial for STD/HIV testing is 230. Once they answer just say HIV kensa, and they will understand. You will be asked to either go down to room 11 on the first floor or to wait a few minutes (if the room is in use), in which case they will probably ask you to sit and wait on the benches in the lobby and they will come up and get you when it is time. Or, there may be an attendant there when you enter the building and they will probably call for you and accompany you down to the room. Either way, the entrance and reception area of the building are very quiet and there aren’t many people around. So you shouldn’t worry about privacy being a problem, or about somebody hearing you when you use the phone.
Once you enter the room, the receptionist will fill out a simple form. The form includes the date, a place to write a number which matches the number on the vile that the blood sample will be put in, a place for you to write your age, and a place for you to put a nickname that you will use when you come back to get the results. The nickname can be anything (your initials, a pet’s name, a number, etc.). Once you have given this information you will be asked what you would like to be tested for..
The receptionist will then take your blood. When the receptionist has finished taking your blood he/she will tell you that you can come back in for the results once a week has gone by. You will not be able to receive the results any other way than in person - it will not be transferred to any third party or conveyed via phone or letter. 
*There is an incubation period of 8 weeks for the HIV virus, 6 weeks for Chlamydia and 4 weeks for Syphilis. (It actually might be 4 weeks for Chlamydia and 6 weeks for Syphilis.) This means that it may take up to 8 weeks from the possible exposure date for the HIV Virus to appear in your blood. So you should not go in for a test until it has been 8 weeks since the possible exposure date.
Other Information:
You will most likely have to take a day or partial day of leave from your school to come to into the city for the test and then again for the results. Most schools require a doctors note for sick leave, and if you don`t want to tell anyone at your school (which is completely your right) you will likely have to take paid leave or use some alternative time off.
Because the language barrier might make it difficult to receive the kind of counseling that goes along with HIV tests in other countries, you might consider calling the Japan HIV/AIDS line. It operates on Saturdays from 11:00-14:00 at (03) 5259-0256 (Tokyo#) and (0720) 43-4105 (Osaka#). They provide a safe, non-judgmental place to discuss any concerns you might have. They have trained telephone counselors who provide emotional support (pre and post HIV testing) as well as counseling, info, and referrals. In addition, you can always feel free to contact me. It is completely confidential - I will not ask for a name. My number at the office is 096-381-9210 and I am here until at least 5:30 every day
And just to give you a better idea of what will likely happen, here is a description of the process by another JET who has been through it before:
“The day of the test, I went in and the testing guy asked me a few questions in Japanese, which I didn't really understand, but he got across that I should come back in a minimum of one week for the results. The HIV test was indeed free. They ask you to write a "password" on a sheet of paper which you should bring back with you when you come to get your results. The guy stuck me with a needle, which I didn't even feel, and took a sample of my blood, assigning it a number which was also on my "password" sheet. The whole ordeal took about 15 minutes.
When I returned a week later, I showed the attendant the password form, and she immediately directed me downstairs to the testing room. A woman came in this time, and I handed her the form. I speak little Japanese, and she spoke little English, so to avoid all confusion, I drew a plus sign and a frowny face, and then a minus sign and a happy face, on a piece of paper which made the explanation process as simple as possible. She pointed to the happy face, and then said that everything was "daijobu" and smiled, showing me the results in Japanese, matching the number on my password paper to the number on the results. Getting the results actually took about 5 minutes total.”
Suizenji Hifuka Iin (水前寺皮ふ科医院)
熊本市水前寺2-19-3 (Kumamoto-shi Suizenji 2-19-3)
Tel: 096-382-4551
Hours: M-Sat 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., M, Tue, Thur, Fri 2-6 p.m.
The clinic is very close to Suizenji station.  It is a brown building with tinted windows at a five-street intersection.  It is across the street from the convenience store sankusu (サンクス) on one corner and a Higo Bank (肥後銀行) on another corner.  The Kita-suizenji北水前寺) bus stop on the Aji4 (味4) line is directly in front of the clinic. (
This clinic, unlike the houkenjo, is able to test for herpes, gonorrhea, genital warts and crabs in addition to HIV, syphilis and chlamydia.   
They see people on a first-come, first-served basis, and are pretty crowded on Saturdays.  Unlike other hospitals and clinics, they don't call people in the waiting room by name.  They assign each patient a number when they arrive and then call that number.  
It will take one week for test results to come back.  
Unlike the houkenjo, HIV/STD testing is not free at this clinic.  However, with national health insurance, the costs are reasonable.  We've heard that testing for all of the above mentioned STDs costs roughly ¥5000-6000 using health insurance.  
Additional Information:
This clinic is open on Saturdays, so if you're having trouble getting the time off of work, or if you don't wish to use nenkyuu you can come here instead of the houkenjo.  
There are no English-speaking staff at this clinic, but it's been reported that they happily work with patients who don't speak Japanese.  
HIV/STD testing Vocab and Phrases:
Can I have the HIV test?
HIV kensa o uketai desu.
Other Tests:
Chlamydia     クラミジア       kuramijia
Gonorrhea      淋病                rinbyou                     
Syphilis           梅毒                baidoku                    
Herpes              ヘルペス        herupesu
How much will the tests cost?                               How much is it all together?
検査はいくらですか。                                                    全部でいくらですか。
kensa wa ikura desu ka.                                          zenbu de ikura desu ka.
When you ask this (or when you say what tests you would like), the clinic will probably explain that testing methods vary by STD.  The following are the different tests given:
Blood Test                      血液検査           ketsueki-kensa
Urine Test                     尿検査               nyou-kensa
“Discharge Test”         分泌物検査       bunpibutsu-kensa
Am I safe?
watashi wa daijoubu deshou ka.
(Test results)
Negative        陰性    insei
Positive          陽性    yousei
Can I have a copy of my results?
kekka no copii o moraemasu ka.
What should I do next?
kore kara watashi wa nani o sureba ii desu ka.
What are your recommendations?
sensei wa nani wo susumemasu ka.
Here are some other words/phrases that might come in handy.  It may also come in handy to take a J-E/E-J pocket dictionary or electronic dictionary with you if you have one:
Insurance Card                     保険証               hokenshou
Symptoms                              症状                   shoujou
City Health Center              保健所               hokenjo
False Positive                         偽陽性               giyousei

In general Japan is a very safe country. The occurrence of crime and violent crime is comparatively low and most enjoy a feeling of security and safety during their stay in Japan. However, crimes do occur so remember to do simple things like locking your doors on your home and car, avoid walking alone at night, and generally be aware of your surroundings. Do not neglect your personal items while in public. 
Knife and Gun restrictions 
The Japanese Firearms and Swords Control Law begins by stating, "No one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords," and very few exceptions are allowed. Possession of a sword is legal if it has artistic value and is registered. Possessing any fixed-blade knife, dagger, or spear with an overall blade length exceeding 15 cm (about 5.9 in), or any double-edged knife or pocket knife with a blade exceeding 5.5 cm (about 2.2 in) requires permission from the prefectural public safety commission. Carrying anything with a blade over 6cm is prohibited. Personal protection or “it’s handy to have” are not valid reasons for carrying even legal pocket or other knives. Though it’s best to avoid carrying any knives at all, if you do have a valid reason to carry a knife it must be concealed and should not be easily available. Violations of these laws can come with sentences measured in years and fines of upwards of 300,000 yen.
Other Safety Items
You may carry an alarm buzzer. Available at the police station and hardware stores for approximately 1000 yen.

What to do in cases of stalking or harassment

1.  Notify your BOE and Tantosha of the situation.

2.  Notify local police if necessary.

3.  Document EVERYTHING, take photos, make notes, save letters or emails or phone messages to give to assist police in an investigation if necessary.

If you are unsure or have any questions don’t hesitate to contact a PA.


Travel Safety
If you plan to be away from the city in which you are contracted for an extended period of time, EVEN IF YOU STAY IN JAPAN, please complete a Travel Information Request form well in advance and submit it to your tantosha.  This may seem like a hassle but it is in everyone’s best interest! If an emergency occurs where you are contracted, OR in the location where you are traveling to, and there is no record of where you are or how to contact you it will be very difficult for anyone to help you.

Register with your consulate or embassy

Non-Japanese citizens have a right to make one phone call if arrested.  However, that one call may only be made to your consulate/embassy – nowhere else.  Therefore, please register with your respective embassy.


Disaster Preparedness

Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is one of the most seismically active areas in the world. Four main tectonic plates – the North American Plate, Pacific Plate, Philippine Plate, and Eurasian Plate – all converge in or around Japan.  In addition, Japan sits under large volcanic zones.  Tsunamis and typhoons are also a very real threat.

Kumamoto Prefecture does not lie directly above a major fault line.  Many smaller active faults, however, do exist.  In addition to earthquakes, flood tides caused by strong winds and low atmospheric pressure from typhoons can affect coastal areas.  Unpredictable volcanic activity in and around Mt. Aso – one of Japan’s largest active volcano – can also pose dangers.

In 2007 the Japan Meteorological Agency began providing Earthquake Early Warnings through media such as TV and radio.  Please note that these warnings, when accurate, may just give you a couple of seconds advance notice. Preparation is of the utmost importance. 

Steps to take:

1.  Fill out the Emergency Contact Information and Evacuation Area Sheet (大規模災害時連絡先及び避難場所確認シート).  You should have received this form from your tantosha.  Make sure you and your CO each have a copy.  To fill out this sheet you need to know your area’s nearest designated evacuation area.  You can find this information at your city, town, or village’s official website.  Some even provide maps, but they are all in Japanese, so you may want to ask your tantosha or a Japanese colleague to help you. 

2. Make sure your Area Leader and Prefectural Advisors also have your contact information (mobile number and address, home phone number, email address, etc.).

3. Register at your home country’s embassy/consulate.

4. Prepare an emergency pack. Details on what to include are below.

5. Photocopy your passport and other important documents. Store copies away from home (for example, at work).

6. Know your neighbors and make them aware of the number of people living in your home.

7. Know how to contact the police, fire and rescue services in Japanese. Be able to provide your address in Japanese.

8. Draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of exit windows and doors, utility cut off points, emergency supplies, food, tools, etc. Put it in a place where everyone can see it.

 9. Establish reunion sites with alternate sites for when the family is not at home, e.g., local shelter, neighbor's house, park, school.  

What to put in your emergency pack:

  • Water (four liters/one gallon per person per day. Change water every three to five months)
  • Food (canned or pre-cooked, requiring no heat or water. Consider special dietary needs, infants, pets) 
  • Flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs 
  • Radio (battery operated with spare batteries) 
  • Large plastic trash bags (for trash, waste, water protection, ground cloth, temporary blanket) 
  • Hand soap and/or disinfecting hand cleaner gel that does not require water 
  • Feminine hygiene supplies, infant supplies, toilet paper 
  • Essential medications as required; glasses if you normally wear contacts 
  • Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, cooking foil and plastic wrap (wrapped around plates so that they were re-usable) and paper towels 
  • First Aid kit with instructions 
  • Yen in small bills (ATMs may not work after a disaster), with coins and phone cards for public phones. 

Store enough for three to five days. Place emergency supplies and your telephone in places where they are less likely to be knocked over or buried by falling objects (on the floor under a strong table is a good choice).

Measuring earthquakes

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Scale is a seismic scale used to measure the intensity of earthquakes.  It describes the degree of shaking, or shindo (震度), on the Earth’s surface by assigning earthquakes levels from 0-7 (0 = weakest, 7 = strongest).  Thus, the further away from an earthquake’s epicenter you are, the lower the degree of shaking and the lower the shindo.  The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, for example, measured a level of shindo 7 in Miyagi Prefecture, Upper 6 in other parts of Miyagi Prefecture and in Fukushima, Ibaraki, and Tochigi Prefectures, and Upper 5 as far away as Tokyo.  The JMA Scale is different from the Richter scale, which measures an earthquake’s magnitude (energy released). 

Essential Steps Immediately After an Earthquake

  • Check your immediate surroundings for fire, gas leaks, broken glass and other hazards.
  • Open doors and/or windows to avoid being locked in if there are after-shocks. 
  • Monitor local TV and radio for evacuation information (If available in your area, for English info, listen to AFN 810AM). 

Strong Earthquakes (Lower 6 and above) and serious, large scale emergencies

Here is what the Japan Meteorological Agency says about the effects of a Lower 6 earthquake:

  • It is difficult to remain standing.
  • Inside of buildings unsecured furniture moves and may topple over.  Doors may become wedged shut. 
  • Outside of buildings wall tiles and windows may sustain damage and fall. 
  • In both wooden houses and reinforced concrete buildings cracks may form in walls, and structures with low earthquake resistance are more likely to lean or collapse. 
  • Cracks may form in the ground. 
  • Landslides may occur. 
After an earthquake with a shindo of Lower 6 or above, it is essential that the International Affairs Division be able to confirm the safety of JET participants as quickly as possible. 

After securing your physical safety, please contact the International Affairs Division PA, and your base school (for HS JETs) or your contracting organization (for municipal JETs).  Be sure to report where you are, your condition (whether you are safe or need help), and any other relevant information.  This information will then be reported to the International Affairs Division and then CLAIR.  If we cannot confirm your whereabouts your area leaders will be asked to help us get in contact with you. 

You can contact the International Affairs Division PA and your base school/contracting organization by phone, mobile phone, or email.  If these services are unavailable after a disaster, please contact your base school/contracting organization via the Disaster Emergency Message Dial System (171) described in detail below.  In the event of multiple disasters that occur in a short period (e.g. an earthquake followed by a tsunami), please contact your contracting organization after each disaster occurs.  

Click here to see what the emergency phone tree looks like in Kumamoto.


Disaster Emergency Message Dial System (171)

During a disaster, damage to infrastructure and high call volumes can interrupt landlines and cellular service.  The Disaster Emergency Message Dial is a voice message system that is activated during severe emergencies that allows individuals to use any landline phone to record messages and register them to any landline phone number within the disaster-affected area.  Others can then verify their safety by accessing the system and listening to the registered messages.

The prompts given you access this system are in Japanese only.  We have explained the process step-by-step so that participants of all Japanese levels know how to use the system.

Recording a message:

1.  Dial 171.

2.  Dial 1 to indicate that you want to record a message.

3.  Dial the appropriate phone number according to your job type.

  • Municipal ALTs – enter the number of your board of education
  • Prefectural ALTs – enter the number of your base school 
  • Municipal CIRs – enter the number of your office 
  • Prefectural CIRs – enter the number for the International Affairs Division 

4.  Wait for the tone to start recording, or dial 1 and then # to start recording (this will depend on the type of phone you are using to access the system).

5.  Leave a message of up to 30 seconds.

6.  Dial 9 and # to end the call.

**Only TEN messages can be recorded and registered to any one telephone number using this system.  If you have a landline, it is a good idea to record a message regarding your safety and whereabouts and register it with your home phone number as well.

**This service can only be used to register messages to LANDLINE phone numbers.  The system can be accessed via mobile phones, but cannot be used to register messages to mobile numbers.

**Using public pay phones to access the Disaster Emergency Message Dial System is NOT free.  Be sure to prepare a few 10 yen coins in your emergency kit for use at public pay phones during a disaster.

Checking Messages:

You can check your own recorded messages and the messages that others have registered via this system.

1.  Dial 171.

2.  Dial 2 to indicate that you want to listen to messages.

3.  Dial your own phone number (if you want to hear your own messages) or the phone number of the person whose safety you are trying to confirm.

4.  Dial 1 and then # and/or just stay on the line (this will depend on the type of phone you are using to access the system).

5.  Listen to messages (messages will be played in reverse chronological order).

6.  Dial 9 and # to end the call.


Disaster Emergency Message Boards

災害用伝言板 (さいがいようでんごんばん – saigaiyou dengonban)

During a disaster, damage to infrastructure and high call volumes can interrupt landlines and cellular service.  The Disaster Emergency Message Boards offer mobile telephone users a way to inform others of their situation and confirm the safety of others after a major disaster has occurred.

Accessing the boards:

How you access the Disaster emergency Message Boards will differ based on the provider and phone you have.  Because this system is only activated during a serious disaster (such as an earthquake that registers at a Lower 6 or higher on the JMA seismic intensity scale), you may not be able to access certain features of the Disaster emergency Message Boards, or even the boards themselves, at any other time.


  • Non-smartphones:  After an earthquake occurs that is Lower 6 or above on the JMA scale, an icon for the 災害用伝言板 or “Disaster Message Boards” will appear at the top of the “imenu.”  Select this icon.
  • Smartphones:
    • Blackberry models:  You will need to download a Blackberry application to access the boards:
      1. From your homescreen, go to メニューキー (menyuukii – menu key).
      2. Select ダウンロード (daunroudo – download).
      3. Select “docomo service portal”.
      4. Select 災害用伝言板.
    • Non-Blackberry models:  Access the boards through a link in the Docomo market or on the Docomo website.


  • Non-smartphones (equipped with Yahoo! ケータイ):  Start up your Yahoo! ケータイ browser and click on the 災害用伝言板 (or “Disaster Message Board” if your phone is in English) icon.
  • iPhones:  Download the 災害用伝言板 application from the Japanese Apple Store.  You can access the Japanese Apple store in two ways.
    • Switch your existing Apple account to the Japanese region.
    • Create a new Japanese region Apple account.
    • NOTE:  Both will require a form of payment that uses Japanese yen as its primary form of currency (a Japanese credit card ot a Japanese iTunes gift card), even though the application itself is free.
  • Other Softbank smartphones: purchase the 災害用伝言板 application through your phone’s application store.  The boards are also available via a link on the mysoftbank page during a serious disaster.


  • EZweb equipped mobile phones:  Open your EZweb browser and select the 災害用伝言板 icon.
  • Smartphone models:  Android IS01, IS03, REGZAPhone IS05, IS06:  Download the 災害用伝言板 application via “AU One Market.”  The application will be under the 災害対策アプリ category.  If you have trouble finding it, use the AU One Market search engine.
    • You cannot access the Disaster Emergency Message Boards via a wi-fi connection.
    • An EZweb email address (e.g. is required to access the Disaster Emergency Message Boards.
    • Smartphone models other than the ones listed above may not be able to register messages on the Disaster Emergency Message Boards.  The above list is complete as of April 27, 2011.  Please confirm if your phone can access the Disaster Emergency Message Boards at time of purchase.  
Registering messages:

There are small differences between the Disaster Emergency Message Boards offered by Docomo, Softbank, and AU.  However, the general procedure for registering messages is essentially the same across all mobile service providers.


  1. The Disaster Emergency Message Boards for each mobile service provider have English versions of their boards that can be accessed via a link on the board homescreen (the icon should say “English” or “英語”).
  2. Select [Register]. 
  3. Choose one option listed under “Status”.
    • I’m fine
    • Need help
    • Safe at home 
    • At evacuation area
  4. You can also add a short message (maximum 100 characters) in the “comment box”.
  5. Select [Register]. 


  1. Select [安否の登録] (あんぴのとうろく – anpi no touroku
  2. From the menu that appears, pick one of the following: 
    • 無事です (ぶじです – bujidesu – I’m fine) 
    • 被害があります (ひがいがあります – higai ga arimasu – Need help) 
    • 自宅に居ます (じたくにいます – jitaku ni imasu – Safe at home) 
    • 避難所に居ます (ひなんじょにいます – hinanjo ni imasu – At evacuation area) 
  3. You can also add a short message (100 characters or less in the box marked コメント (komento – comments). 
  4. Select [登録]. 

NOTE:  You can only store 10 messages with this system.  If you try to store more than 10 messages, the system will automatically delete messages in the order they were registered.

After you register a message with this system, you will be asked whether you wish to send email with the contents of your registered message to a list of email addresses you designated beforehand (see “automatic mail notification” below).

Automatic mail notification:

Although the [Register] function of the Disaster Emergency Message Board System is not available until a severe disaster strikes, you can register up to 10 email addresses at any time for the auto-notify function.  This function will allow you to send an email automatically from your phone to each of the registered email addresses whenever you register a message using the Disaster Emergency Message Boards. 

To register an email address or change the email addresses that you have registered, access the disaster Emergency Message Boards and select [自動Eメール送信設定] or [Setup Auto Notify].  Enter the email addresses you wish to register, and select [OK]. (English) (Japanese)

Association of Medical Doctors Abroad: Find a medical professional who speaks your language

Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Earthquake Survival Manual

Kumamoto police interpretation center (emergency only)

TEL: 03-5285-8088

Confirming the safety of others:

For more information about Earthquake Early Warnings

M-F 9:30am – 6:15pm: 0963-810-110, extension 4764

Messages registered on Disaster Emergency Message Boards can be checked via mobile device or via personal computer.

To confirm via mobile device:  Access the emergency message board and select [Confirm] or [確認].

To confirm via a personal computer:  Access the URL (listed below) for the the appropriate mobile service provider’s Disaster Emergency Message Board.




Enter the phone number of the individual whose safety you are trying to confirm and select [確認] or [confirm].  A list of the messages registered by that individual will appear.  Select the message you wish to view. 

NOTE:  The Disaster Emergency Message Boards for each mobile service provider are separate from one another.  This means that you will only be able to confirm the safety of an AU mobile user using the AU Disaster Emergency Message Boards, and so on.  If you enter a phone number that belongs to a mobile provider other than the one running the disaster Emergency Message Board, you will be redirected to the [Confirm] page of the appropriate message board.


Disasters Requiring Evacuation

Evacuations will likely occur after an earthquake when fires are spreading or buildings are in danger of being destroyed by landslides, or when a tsunami is expected. Police and fire authorities will issue evacuation advice. There are three levels of evacuation warnings:

避難準備 (ひなんじゅんび - hinan junbi Evacuation Preparation.  The lowest evacuation warning.  There is no immediate need to evacuate, but residents are encouraged to begin preparations should the need arise.

避難勧告 (ひなんかんこく - hinan kankoku Evacuation Recommended.  Residents are highly encouraged to evacuate to their nearest refuge area.

避難指示 (ひなんしじ - hinan shiji Evacuation Order.  Remaining in the area is extremely dangerous and all residents should evacuate to the nearest refuge area immediately.

If a disaster requiring evacuation occurs during work hours, follow instructions given to you by your contracting organization or school.

If a disaster occurs outside of work hours and an evacuation order is issued, proceed immediately to the closest refuge area.

Upon feeling an earthquake, JETs in coastal areas and near rivers should immediately evacuate to high ground.  If you cannot reach high ground within 5-10 minutes, take refuge on the upper floor of a tall building.  


One of the questions that came up during this year's Kumamoto Orientation was how English-speaking foreigners can get information in English when there is a disaster.  The Kumamoto International Foundation has a mail magazine called Anshin Anzen (Safe and Secure).  If you sign up for this free service, you will get monthly updates on disaster prevention and living information relevant to Kumamoto.  You will also receive information about evacuations if such notices are issued. To sign up for the KIF Disaster Information Email Service, please do the following:
You will receive an email with a link to a registration page. It seems you can't change the email address you want to register, so if you want the information sent to your keitai, you should send the blank email from your keitai.

Other useful telephone numbers and websites:

Sexual Crime Help Line:    0120-834-381

Kumamoto police interpretation center (emergency only):  M-F 9:30am – 6:15pm: 0963-810-110, extension 4764

Association of Medical Doctors Abroad: Find a medical professional who speaks your language;  TEL: 03-5285-8088

For more information about Earthquake Early Warnings:

  • (English) 
  • (Japanese) 

Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Earthquake Survival Manual:  

*Thank you to the PAs of Mie Prefecture for providing information on the Disaster Emergency Message Dial System, Message Boards, disasters requiring evacuation, and other useful phone numbers and websites.  
・If you have been to a good English-speaking doctor, please email the PAs about it.

・Good luck with the new semester of classes! 

Important upcoming dates:

・Starting in October - New ES/JHS ALT School Visits  
Upcoming Events:

・September 5 - Taco Night, 7PM at Tortacos, Kumamoto City
・September 26 & 27 - Ashikita Beach Party, Otachimisaki Park, Ashikita, check-in starts at 4PM
Area Guide


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