HOME > Living In Fukuoka > Public Safety > Crimes, Accidents and Disasters

1. Crimes, Accidents and Disasters


Japan is a relatively safe country but you should always make sure to lock your doors and windows at night or when you are going out to keep prowlers out; also be alert during the day when you are at home. In addition, you should be careful against purse snatchers; it is recommended that you hold your bag away from the road when walking on the street. Always lock your bicycle securely. Cases of purse snatching, prank calls and sexual harassment are not uncommon, and women should be extra careful especially when walking on deserted streets at night.
The emergency number to call the police in Japan is 110. For information on reporting procedures, refer to Emergency

Police Boxes

A police box (koban) is a small police station, many of which are located throughout the city. Police officers are on duty 24 hours a day to ensure the safety of the local community. Their main duties include giving directions, handling lost property, patrolling the community, and responding to reports on incidents or accidents. If you need to ask for directions or become involved in an accident or an incident, you can always call for help at your nearest police box.

Public Safety Consultation Center

Located inside the prefectural police headquarters, this center handles general inquiries including juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, driver’s license, proof of traffic accidents, driving history statements, and police station tours.

Police Safety Consultation Center Hotline: 092-641-9110
*For service in English, Chinese, or Korean: 092-641-4141(ext. 4763)

Lost Property

If you lose a personal item, please report it to your nearest police station or police box. In doing so, it is recommended that you first check with the police box closest to the area where you believe you lost the item, for it might have been turned in by someone already. If you lose a credit card or ATM card, please call your credit card company or issuing bank immediately. If you lose an inkan (personal seal) have a new one made, and make sure to change the inkan for registered documents such as your bank book.
Visit the following website to find more information about lost and found items.

* Fukuoka Prefectural Police, Lost and Found Search Site

<Lost and Found Telephone Numbers>

Nishitetsu Bus and Train 0570-00-1010 (Customer Center Navi Dial)
Showa Bus 092-327-5611
Fukuoka City Subway
* Meinohama Area
* Tenjin Area
* Hakata Area
* KaizukaArea
* Hashimoto Area
* Tenjin-minami Area
092-734-7800 (Customer Service Center, General Inquiries)
JR Kyushu, Hakata Station 092-474-4282
Municipal Ferry 092-291-1085
Fukuoka City Taxi Association
Fukuoka Prefecture Kojin Taxi Association

* Each taxi company has its own number
Fukuoka Airport (Domestic) 092-622-8845
Fukuoka Airport (International) 092-483-7009
Tenjin Chikagai Arcade (Underground mall) 092-751-7786
* If you lose your Residence Card, be sure to complete reissuance procedures within 14 days.

Traffic Accident

In the event that you become involved in or witness a traffic accident, immediately dial “110” or notify the nearest police box even if it seems minor. If you are involved in the accident, write down the names of all other parties involved as well as their address, phone number, age, driver’s license number, car license number, insurance company’s name, and car insurance number. If there were any witnesses, obtain their name, address and telephone number as well. Even if your injury is only minor, make sure to receive proper care and a doctor’s note at a hospital.

<Traffic Accident Consultation Center>
Fukuoka Prefecture Traffic Safety Association 1-25-15, Chiyo, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 092-641-8880
Fukuoka Prefecture Traffic Accident Consultation Office Fukuoka Prefectural Office 1F, 7-7 Higashi Koen, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 092-643-3168
Japan General Insurance Association Nishitetsu Akasaka Bldg. 9F, 2-4-30 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 092-771-9766
Automobile Insurance Claim Consultation Center Nishitetsu Akasaka Bldg. 9F, 2-4-30, Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 092-713-7318
Nichibenren Traffic Accident Consultation Center Minami Tenjin Bldg. 2F, 5-14-12, Watanabe-dori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 092-741-3208
The Japan Center For Settlement of Traffic Accident Disputes Fukuoka Tenjin Fukoku Seimei Bldg. 10F, 1-9-17, Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 092-721-0881
*Traffic-accident counseling services are available at the resident assistance counter at City Hall.

Legal Consultations

In cases where you are involved in matters that require legal knowledge, it may be necessary to seek the guidance of legal experts. Co-sponsored by the Fukuoka City International Foundation and the Fukuoka Bar Association, Rainbow Plaza offers a free legal counseling service for foreign nationals twice a month, and an interpreter can also be provided upon request. The Fukuoka Bar Association also offers free legal consultations for foreign nationals (interpreters are also available upon request). For more information, please inquire noted below.

Rainbow Plaza: Free Legal Counseling for Foreigners
The Fukuoka Bar Association: Free Legal Consultation for Foreigners

*The Japanese legal system may be different from that of your home country. It would be recommended to contact your national embassy or consulate for more assistance.

Public Manners

In order to make everyone’s life more pleasant, Fukuoka City is promoting the improvement of public manners by implementing a set of new regulations for “Building a Friendly, Safe and Pleasant Fukuoka.”
Below is a list of main rules that must be obeyed at all times. Please be advised that disobedience of these rules may result in a penalty.

Smoking While Walking
Smoking while walking on public streets or while riding a bicycle is not only highly dangerous for pedestrians, but also forces them to breathe in unpleasant secondhand smoke. Smoking while walking or riding a bicycle is prohibited in all of Fukuoka City. An infraction, especially in the Tenjin or Hakata Station areas, can incur a fine of up to 20,000 yen.

Littering empty cans, glass bottles or plastic bottles in public areas is prohibited, since Fukuoka City is engaged in recycling activities. Do not throw out bottles and cans on the street; please take care to dispose of them in the appropriate collection areas. Also, make sure to separate your garbage correctly to facilitate recycling.

Illegally Parked Bicycles
Do not leave your bicycle unattended in no-parking zones, public spaces such as the side of the road, in front of train stations, parks, etc. Illegally parked bicycles will be removed to the city facility, and a fine of 2,000 yen will be imposed upon retrieving your bicycle.

Safe Driving
Cars and motorcycles must be driven on the left side of the road. When driving, observe traffic regulations, be aware of your surroundings, and drive safely and courteously. When riding a bicycle, be careful not to cause injury to pedestrians by avoiding collisions.

Parking Restrictions
Illegally parked cars in areas of high circulation block pedestrians and other drivers, and are a common cause of traffic accidents and congestion. Just because you are parking “only for a little while” does not mean you are entitled to do so illegally.

Natural Disasters

Fukuoka is relatively free from natural disasters, but floods can occur during the rainy season of June and July, and storms can occur during the typhoon season in summer and autumn. Earthquakes are not as common compared to the rest of the nation; however, as in the case of the major earthquake that hit Fukuoka in March 2005, you should always remain alert and take necessary precautions. Moreover, extra care should be taken when handling fire inside Japanese houses, since many of them are built of wood and can catch fire easily.

Be prepared for an emergency by taking the following precautions.
<Disaster Prevention>
- Know the locations of evacuation shelters and dangerous areas in your neighborhood.
Each ward has designated shelter areas (schools, community centers, parks, civic centers, etc).
- Prepare a bag of essential supplies for emergencies and check it regularly.
- Fasten down your furniture to prevent it from tipping over during quakes.
- In times of crisis, respond only to information from a trusted source.
- Cooperate and help others in danger.
- Register for disaster-prevention e-mail services.

You can register to receive weather and precipitation information on your computer or mobile phone through Fukuoka City's and Fukuoka Prefecture’s websites.

How to Protect Yourself in Times of Disaster(Earthquakes/Tsunami/Typhoons/Floods)
An Earthquake/Tsunami/Typhoon/Flood Guide Video.

Disaster Prevention Guide for Foreigners

Fukuoka Citizens' Disaster Prevention Center
The Fukuoka Citizens' Disaster Prevention Center (Bosai Center) is a place where you can learn more about disasters and their precautionary measures. It has facilities that simulate earthquakes and violent wind conditions, educational areas where visitors can practice fire-fighting and practical techniques for protecting against disasters.
Tel: 092-847-5990 (1-3-3, Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka)

<Disaster Information Line>
Fukuoka City Disaster Information Line
Tel: 0180-99-9595

Fukuoka City Disaster/Crisis Management Information

For mobile phones

Fukuoka Prefecture Disaster Prevention E-Mail Service “Mamoru”

Foreign-language radio information
Love FM (76.1MHz; in Western Fukukoka: 82.5MHz; in Kitakyushu: 82.7MHz)

Shout "kaji da! (fire!)" when you detect a fire and alert your neighbors. If you are near a telephone, immediately dial 119 (refer to emergency on how to report a fire). If you don't have a fire extinguisher, use any tool to splash water to prevent the further spread of fire. For oil fires, do not use liquids. Instead, pour something powdery on the flames, or wet a bed sheet or towel to smother the fire. Smoke from a burning house may contain toxic substances, so cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel and stay as low to the ground as possible when evacuating. Fires may break out during or after an earthquake. Gas pipes may also break during an earthquake, so evacuate the area immediately if you smell gas.

Typhoons are often accompanied by strong winds which can blow away bricks, branches, and signs. It is safer to remain indoors, so try to stay inside as much as possible. In addition, stay away from unprotected windows during a typhoon as they may shatter and fly into your house. If you have storm windows or shutters, close them in advance. As heavy rain may also accompany typhoons, be prepared for the possibility of flooding, especially if your home is in a low-lying area or near a river. Once the roads start to flood, avoid using the subway or entering underground shopping areas and basement floors.

While Fukuoka is relatively free from earthquakes, there is still a possibility that another powerful earthquake such as the “Fukuoka Prefecture Western Offshore Earthquakes” (March 20, 2005) may occur in the future, and it is a good idea to take some basic precautions. Make mental notes of dangerous and safe places in your house, and possible escape routes for dangerous situations. Elementary schools, junior high schools and community centers are designated as community-based emergency evacuation centers. Make sure you know where the closest one to your home is, and evacuate there as needed.

<Basic procedures in case of an earthquake>
- Stay calm and protect yourself

It is important to protect your head, so try to get under a sturdy desk or table. Cover your head with a cushion or pillow if possible.
- Secure an emergency exit
When you feel an earthquake, open a door right away to ensure there will be an escape route after the earthquake is over.
- Do not rush outside
Usually a strong earthquake will end within a minute or so. Seek shelter in the room you are in and stay there until it is over.
- Extinguish any open flames
Turn off all gas burners, heating appliances, and other heat sources. However, in case they are not within your reach, secure yourself first and turn them off once the tremor is settled. Turn off the main valve of gas appliances and unplug electrical appliances.
- Avoid narrow streets, fences, cliffs, and riverbanks
Do not stand still under the eaves of buildings as there is a risk of falling debris of roofing tiles, glass or concrete. Stay away from cliffs and riverbanks as the ground may have loosened, increasing the possibility of a landslide. Go to a sturdy building or public-based evacuation center.
- If you are driving during an earthquake, stop immediately
Pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Evacuate on foot, leaving the key in the ignition. Trying to evacuate by car will cause traffic congestion that may block emergency vehicles.
- Be alert for tsunamis (tidal waves)
When there’s a large earthquake or a series of small earthquakes, stay away from the sea as a tsunami may occur. If you are near a beach during an earthquake, evacuate to higher ground immediately. Listen to the radio for tsunami-related news.