Calling Emergency Services in Japan

SOS Dial

By Elisabeth Lambert
June 19, 2016

If you required emergency assistance in Tokyo, or anywhere in Japan for that matter, would you know which number to call and what to do? If not, read on for information on the different numbers available and when to use each one.

Easy Japanese For Emergencies

Medical Emergencies

In the case of a medical emergency, the number to call for an ambulance in Japan is 119. While there are English-speaking operators, there are no guarantees that there will be one available, so click here to learn some useful phrases.

You will need to tell the operator if you are calling for an ambulance or fire and rescue, as well as what has happened and the nature of the injury or illness. You’ll also need to tell them your location.

Once the ambulance picks you up, the paramedics will decide which hospital to take you to, based on your condition/injury and your location.

For more information on calling an ambulance, check the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website here.

Japan Poison Information Center

This is always a handy number to have in any country you live in, especially if you have young children. It’s not unusual for kids to get into things they shouldn’t, and if you’re worried your child has been exposed to or ingested poison of any kind, please ring the Japan Poison Information Center:

Tsukuba: 029-852-9999 (daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.)

Osaka: 072-727-2499 (daily, 24 hours)

Please note, these lines are Japanese language only.


Ringing 119 actually connects you with the fire department (ambulances are dispatched from local fire stations). So in the case of fire or a rescue emergency, dial 119 just like you would in the case of a medical emergency.

For more information on calling the fire and rescue department, click here for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website, and to learn what to say in Japanese when you call, click here.


If you need the police, please dial 110. You’ll need to tell the operator your name, what happened, and when and where it happened. Again, there are English speaking operators but there are no guarantees you will be able to speak with one.

For more information on calling the police, click here for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website.

Photo by Miki Yoshihito.


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