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Organizational Structure

Within the structural framework of Japan's central government, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is placed as an extra-ministerial bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

Organizational chart of the national authorities of Japan
Organizational chart of the national authorities of Japan

JMA is comprised of Headquarters, Regional Headquarters, Local Meteorological Offices and Weather Stations, and Auxiliary Facilities. All JMA services are conducted with a total staff of 5,225 and budgetary resources of 71.2 billion yen (approx. US$734 million) per year as of 2014 FY.

Organizational Structure of JMA
Organizational structure of JMA


JMA Headquarters serves as both the administrative and operational center of the Agency. It has a Director-General, a Deputy Director-General and five departments: the Administration Department, the Forecast Department, the Observations Department, the Seismological and Volcanological Department, and the Global Environment and Marine Department.

Regional Headquarters, Local Meteorological Offices and Weather Stations

To provide a wide range of services for local communities, JMA operates a number of observatories and weather stations across the country. The Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Okinawa Regional Headquarters (RHQs) serve as regional central offices directing 50 Local Meteorological Offices (LMOs) and 2 Weather Stations, both of which provide information services on prefectural and sub-prefectural levels.

A total of 4 Aviation Weather Service Centers (AWSCs), 6 aviation weather stations and 16 airport branches have been established to support aviation meteorological services.

JMA main offices
JMA main offices

Auxiliary Organs

The JMA auxiliary facilities outlined below are operated to support specialized services such as research, investigation and education/training.

Meteorological Research Institute (in Tsukuba, Ibaraki)

Meteorological Research Institute

The Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) is a JMA research facility. Its nine research departments cover broad areas of meteorology including weather forecasting, climate, typhoons, physical meteorology and observation systems, as well as other fi elds related to earth science such as seismology, volcanology, oceanography and geochemistry.

Meteorological Satellite Center (in Kiyose, Tokyo)

Meteorological Satellite Center

The Meteorological Satellite Center (MSC) deals with the meteorological side of the series of Multi-functional Transport Satellites (MTSAT), which carry out earth observation and related telecommunication operations. MSC receives observational data from MTSAT through the Command and Data Acquisition Station (CDAS) located in Hatoyama, Saitama. The Center is also responsible for deriving operational products from MTSAT and other polar-orbiting satellites such as the US NOAA-series of spacecraft.

Aerological Observatory (in Tsukuba, Ibaraki)

Aerological Observatory

The Aerological Observatory conducts comprehensive observation of the upper atmosphere using captive balloons, radiosondes and other instruments. It also observes the ozone layer and solar radiation, including the harmful ultraviolet type. The Observatory functions as a technical center for studies on the upper atmosphere and for the development and improvement of technologies related to upper-air observation.

Magnetic Observatory (in Ishioka, Ibaraki)

Magnetic Observatory

The Magnetic Observatory (also known as Kakioka Magnetic Observatory) monitors electromagnetic conditions in and around the earth. It provides geomagnetic data for monitoring of the solar-terrestrial environment and for investigations on volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The Observatory serves as one of the standard observation stations for geomagnetism accredited by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG).

Meteorological College (in Kashiwa, Chiba)

Meteorological College

The Meteorological College is a JMA training institute offering four-year college courses and various training programs. On the four-year course, a total of around 60 students are educated in meteorology as well as basic science and geophysics. Graduates of the College go on to work for JMA as professional staff members. The training programs comprise a number of short-term courses on weather forecasting, seismology/volcanology and marine meteorology, and are aimed at improving the technical capabilities of JMA staff members.