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Japan

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Japan is generally a safe country to visit, with low crime and violence. However, Singaporeans are still advised to take the necessary precautions and exercise personal responsibility at all times. Notably, Japan is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, snowstorms, flooding and landslides. Disruptions to local utilities and transport services can be expected following the aftermath of such disasters.

Most recently, Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures in Japan have been hit by floods and landslides on 28 August 2019. The Japan Meteorological Agency has since issued heavy rain warnings for the Kyushu region and evacuation orders for Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures. Media reports indicate that the floods and landslides have caused damage to roads, loss of lives and the suspension of local train services.

Singaporeans travelling to 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/

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

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).

 

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 [13 November 2019]

In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take the necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.

Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.

In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and heed the advice of the local authorities. 

When participating in outdoor leisure activities overseas, Singaporeans should be mindful that certain sporting activities, especially in open seas, may carry risks. Besides ensuring that one has the physical competencies and appropriate condition to undertake the activity, every effort should be made to ascertain if the trip organiser or guide is reliable and competent, and that appropriate safety and contingency plans are in place. When in doubt, Singaporeans should consult the relevant professional bodies or sporting associations for specific advice.

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 entry requirements, 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, remain vigilant and monitor 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, social unrests 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 Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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