Created for expats living in Japan

Japanese warning system - J-ALERT

As Japan lies on the circum-Pacific volcanic belt, the occurrence of the large-scale earthquakes and possibly volcanic eruptions, are unavoidable. In addition, some neighboring countries frequently test launch ballistic missiles, and there is a risk of missiles falling on Japan as well J-Alert is a "nationwide instant warning system" that the government uses to communicate emergency information to the public.

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We recommend that foreign residents in Japan understand the J-ALERT system just in case of some disaster or emergency occurs.

J-ALERT is a National Instant Warning System, in which the Japanese government transmits emergency information instantly to the residents of the whole country.

It is usually used by the Meteorological Agency to transmit information about an earthquake, a tsunami, a volcano eruption, and any other natural disaster. The Cabinet Secretariat sends information about ballistic missiles, air raids, guerrilla attacks, terrorism, and anything else the general population would need warning of.

These warnings and advisories are broadcast through outdoor speakers, television, radio, and email to your cellular phone.

If by any chance you hear a J-ALERT warning about a ballistic missile and there is a possibility of it striking near your neighborhood, please evacuate to a sturdy structure or underground structure as soon as possible.

Below is a sample of what a J-ALERT warning sounds like. (This is what it will sound like in the event of a ballistic missile fired at Japan):

WARNING: the below video contains the actual sounds in case of an attack, please MAKE SURE there is no one around you and your volume is low as it will surprise those around you who might think it's an actual J-ALERT presently being sent out.


Smartphones sold in Japan come with "Area email" and "Emergency alert email" installed in and are capable of receiving a J-ALERT.

Overseas terminals, MVNO, SIM lock free smartphones may be unable to receive a J-ALERT. In such cases, please install "Yahoo! JAPAN disaster prevention flash report" app on your Android or iOS device so you will be able to receive a J-ALERT.