J-Alert – Japan EAS – Emergency Alert System

Know that scary earthquake alert tone? Remember that annoying warning while watching some Japanese Anime or TV show? In this article we are going to talk about Japan's famous Emergency Alert System known as EAS (Emergency Alert System) or J-Alert.

In Japanese it is also called Zenkoku Shunji Keihō Shisutemu/J Ararto [全国時報システム] which means something like Entire Country Newsletter Alert. What is J-Alert for? When and how does it appear?

Below we will leave the nostalgic music and scary for you to hear. The video also features some interesting information about Japan EAS such as Alert levels:

What is the purpose of J-Alert or Japan EAS?

Every country has its EAS which literally means Emergency Alert System, but in Japan due to the large increasing number of natural disasters, the system has become more efficient.

While in 1945 we had a Japan EAS through Speakers scattered across the region, in February 2007 Japan launched J-Alert in order to more quickly alert the public to emergency threats.

The goal of Japan EAS or J-Alert is warn of earthquakes, severe weather, volcanoes, missiles and other hazards. The system was developed to help with evacuation.

Japan eas - emergency alert system
Japan EAS – TV Alert

How Does J-Alert Work?

J-Alert is a satellite-based system that allows authorities to quickly broadcast alerts to local media and citizens directly through a nationwide speaker system, television, radio, email and cell broadcasts. .

J-ALERT basically works like this:

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) receives information about an emergency situation such as a tsunami or missile strike.

FDMA offices in East Japan and/or West Japan transmit emergency information to J-ALERT receiving equipment via terrestrial satellite and backup circuits.

J-ALERT transmitters receive information and transmit it across the country in the form of:

  • Ads for speakers mounted in towers and buildings
  • Alerts on TVs and radios
  • Push alerts on cell phones

All notices except weather warnings severe, are broadcast in five languages: Japanese, English, Mandarin, Korean and English.

Japan eas - emergency alert system
Japan Emergency Alert on Mobile

For which Emergencies is Japan Alerts used?

The J-ALERT system sends alerts as follows:

StreamingAlert Type
Always AutomaticMissile Launch, Terrorist Attack, Military Attack, Earthquake, Tsunami, Volcanic Eruption, Meteorological Emergency etc.
Automatic Depending on LocationRegional Details on Earthquake, Tsunami, Volcanic Eruption, Tornado, Flood etc.
not normally doneSpecific river flood levels, weather warnings, volcano warnings etc.

Japan Emergency List

Below is a list of possible emergencies that may receive some type of alert:

  • Special Emergency Threats
  • Quick updates on hypocenter, magnitude and precautions for a possible tsunami
  • Volcanic Eruption Emergency Warning and Possibility of Eruption
  • Volcanic Eruption Warning and Eruption Possibility
  • Earthquake Prediction Notice for Tōkai Earthquakes
  • tsunami warning
  • tsunami warning
  • weather warning
  • Earthquake Early Warning
  • Emergency Warnings for Heavy Rain, Heavy Snow, Windstorm, Snowstorm, Waves, and Storm
  • Warnings for Heavy Rain, Heavy Snow, Windstorm, Snowstorm, Waves, and Storm
  • volcano eruption
  • big tsunami warning
  • Tōkai Earthquake Earthquake Prediction Advisory Information
  • Advisory information for tornado
  • Ballistic Missile Information
  • Earthquake Prediction Information from the Tōkai Earthquakes
  • Air strike information
  • Information on guerrilla attacks and special forces
  • Information about violent heavy rains
  • Information on hypocenter, magnitude, intensities of various areas and presence of tsunami
  • Landslide Risk Information
  • Large-Scale Terrorism Information
  • Other information for civil and national defense
  • Volcanic Crater Forecast
  • flood forecast
  • Severe weather.
  • Earthquake
  • Tsunami
Japan eas - emergency alert system
japan eas - emergency alert system

Why is Japan EAS Alert sound so Bad?

Probably because of old equipment from when the emergency transmission system was implemented. They never updated, so it looks worse compared to modern equipment.

Another reason is probably to keep the default. If you look at the old alerts before J-Alert the sound was different, but it was horrendous. See below a video with all Japan Alert sounds:

Meaning of Japan Emergency Alerts

If you are a foreign national in Japan and for some reason you have not received the J-Alert message in your language, the list of words below can help you identify the type of alert and how to evacuate.

注意報 chūihōAdvices 
警報 keihoNotices 
特別警報 tokubetsu keihōEmergency notices 
気象情報 kishō jōhōBulletins - provide information to supplement notices and recommendations
風雪注意報 fūsetsu chūihōwind and snow warning 
強風注意報 kyōfū chūihōstorm warning 
大雨注意報 ōame chūihōHeavy rain warning 
大雪注意報 ōyuki chūihōHeavy snow warning 
濃霧注意報 nōmu chūihōdense fog warning 
雷注意報 kaminari chūihōstorm warning 
乾燥注意報 kansō chūihōDry air warning 
なだれ注意報 nadare chūihōavalanche warning 
着氷chakuhyōIce / snow accumulation warning 
霜注意報 shimo chūihōFrost Warning 
低温注意報 teion chūihōLow temperature warning 
融雪注意報 yūsetsu chūihōSnow Melt Warning 
高潮注意報 takashio chūihōStorm surge warning 
波浪注意報 harō chūihōHigh waves warning 
洪水注意報 kōzui chūihōflood warning 
暴風警報 bōfū keihōstorm warning 
暴風雪警報 bōfūsetsu keihōsnow storm warning 
大雨警報 ōame keihōHeavy rain alert 
大雪警報 ōyuki keihōHeavy snow warning 
高潮警報 takashio keihōstorm wave warning 
波浪警報 harō keihoHigh waves warning 
洪水警報 kōzui keihōflood warning 
海上風警報 kaijōfū keihōNearby gale warning 
海上強風警報 kaijō kyōfū keihōstorm warning 
海上暴風警報 kaijō bōfū keihōstorm warning 
海上台風警報 kaijō taifū keihōtyphoon warning 
海上濃霧警報 kaijō nōmu keihōdense fog warning 
海上着氷警報 kaijō chakuhyō keihoice warning 
海上うねり警報 kaijō uneri keihōSea swell warning 
地震情報 jishin jōhōEarthquake Information 
震度速報 shindo sokuhoSeismic Intensity Information 
震源に関する情報 shingen ni kan suru jōhōEarthquake Information 
震源震度に関する情報 shingen / shindo ni kan suru jōhōEarthquake and Seismic Intensity Information 
各地の震度に関する情報 kakuchi no shindo ni kan suru jōhoInformation about the seismic intensity at each location 
遠地地震に関する情報 enchi jishin ni kan suru jōhoDistant information about earthquakes 
緊急地震速報 kinkyū jishin sokuhoEarthquake Early Warning 
津波情報 tsunami jōhōTsunami Information 
津波予報 tsunami yohōTsunami Forecast 
津波注意報 tsunami chūihōtsunami warning 
津波警報 tsunami keihotsunami warning 
火山情報 kazan jōhōvolcano information 
噴火予報 funka yohōvolcanic forecast 
噴火警報 funka keihovolcanic warning 
洪水予報 kōzui yohōflood forecast 
台風情報 taifū jōhōTyphoon Information 
風速 fūsokuWind speed - Usually expressed in meters / second 
余震 yoshinAftershocks – These earthquakes occur after the main earthquake and vary in size and frequency. It can go on for several days and even occur many months after an earthquake.
洪水 kōzuifloods 
浸水 shinsuiInundation 
崖くずれ gake-kuzureLandslide – Earth and sand on steep slopes collapse and fall due to heavy rains or earthquakes.
土砂くずれ dosha-kuzureMud Slide – A mass of mud and other terrestrial material lands on a slope or other slope.
警戒 keikaiSurveillance / alert / caution – To be careful
通行止め tsūkō-domeInterdiction of lane / impossibility of passage 
避難 hinanEvacuation – To escape to a safer place during a disaster.
避難所 hinan-joShelter / Refuge / Evacuation Center – Places where those who have lost their homes due to a disaster can stay temporarily.
避難場所 hinan-bashoEvacuation Area – Places to temporarily evacuate during a disaster.
避難勧告 hinan-kankokuEvacuation Notice – A recommendation to evacuate as announced by the mayor. This occurs in situations where the possibility of harm to people is high. 
避難指示 hinan-shijiEvacuation instruction – This is given when danger is imminent and is stronger than hinan-kankoku.
被災者 hisaishadisaster victim 
安否確認 anpi-kakuninsecurity confirmation 
行方不明 yukue-fumeiA person's whereabouts is unknown 
非常食 hijō-shokuEmergency rations (food)
停電 teidenBlackout / power outage 
断水 dansuiWaterfall 

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