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FAQ (Emergency Warnings)

What is an Emergency Warning?

An Emergency Warning is a new type of message for disaster mitigation. Such messages are issued to alert people to the significant likelihood of catastrophes in association with natural phenomena of extraordinary magnitude.

Why were Emergency Warnings introduced?

In response to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued Tsunami Warnings (Major Tsunami) and various other messages. However, in some cases these did not prompt residents to evacuate urgently. In relation to the disaster caused by Typhoon Talas in 2011, JMA also issued Warnings to alert the public to the need for precaution against a catastrophe, but there was no effective means of informing residents of the extreme magnitude of the impending fatal disaster. In this way, JMA had not always been able to fully support municipal decisions on the issuance of evacuation advisories/instructions and prompt resident evacuation.

Based on these experiences, JMA introduced a system of Emergency Warnings on 30 August, 2013.

What is the difference between Emergency Warnings and Warnings/Advisories?

Emergency Warnings are issued when a phenomenon is expected to be of a scale that will far exceed the Warning criteria. They are intended for extraordinary phenomena such as the major tsunami caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the 1959 storm surge in Ise Bay caused by Typhoon Vera (a.k.a. Ise-wan Typhoon) and the 2011 heavy rain caused by Typhoon Talas.

Are all Emergency Warnings issued under the name of Emergency Warnings for a particular phenomenon?

JMA uses the name Emergency Warning for the following six meteorological phenomena: heavy rain, storms, storm surges, high waves, heavy snow and snowstorms (e.g., Emergency Warning for heavy rain).

In regard to earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions, JMA maintains the system of warning nomenclature used until 29 August, 2013 but issues messages in the new classification of Emergency Warnings for phenomena expected to far exceed the Warning criteria.

How are Emergency Warnings disseminated?

Emergency Warnings are disseminated to the public through municipalities and media such as TV and radio in the same way as existing Warnings, Advisories and other bulletins.

Emergency Warnings are conveyed to municipalities via various channels including prefectural governments, police agencies and fire departments.

Emergency Warning Dissemination

Are there any changes to Warnings and Advisories after the introduction of Emergency Warnings?

Warnings and Advisories continue to be issued in the same form as before even after the introduction of Emergency Warnings.

If only a Warning rather than an Emergency Warning is issued in my area, will it be safe?

Never let your guard down even if no Emergency Warning is currently in effect.

If a catastrophe is likely, JMA issues Warnings as before. Even if an Emergency Warning has not been issued, it is advisable to take precautionary measures such as paying attention to the latest bulletins and following municipal evacuation advisories and instructions. It is important to take early action with reference to relevant bulletins, Advisories and Warnings, which are updated in response to the latest phenomenon observations or predictions.