As peak travel season approaches, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is offering the following security tips to help visitors stay safe while enjoying Tokyo’s world-famous nightlife. The general crime rate in Japan is well below the U.S. national average, and Tokyo, like all of Japan, is generally a safe place for visitors. Still, as in other big cities around the world, visitors to Tokyo sometimes become victims of crime, and it is important to exercise caution. While violent crime is rare, it does exist.
Some of Tokyo’s entertainment and nightlife districts – in particular, the Roppongi and Kabuki-cho areas – have a higher level of crime compared to other parts of the city. The Embassy recommends that you use caution in all entertainment and nightlife districts throughout Japan. Complaints of robberies committed after a victim has been drugged from a spiked drink are increasing. The Embassy also receives reports of credit card fraud, extortion, and even assault in these districts.
Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists have safe and enjoyable visits to Tokyo, and to help make sure you are one of them, follow these simple tips:
If you are going out to bars or nightclubs, consider leaving your credit and debit cards in the hotel safe. Criminals focus on people who are paying with cards. Carry cash securely, and take only as much cash as you are planning to spend.
Do not go clubbing alone! Take a friend, and stay together.
Do not tell strangers about your travel plans! Criminals target visitors who are departing Japan within 24-72 hours, since they are less likely to report the crime to police.
Never enter a bar or club that employs a street hawker to draw in customers. Some establishments, especially in entertainment areas that cater to foreign clientele, put touts on the street to drum up business. These touts can be very aggressive, and many incidents reported to the Embassy have taken place in establishments that use them. If you meet one, it’s best to move on.
Do not accept an invitation for a free drink! In many incidents reported to the Embassy, touts have used offers of free drinks as an enticement.
Keep an eye on your drink! Drink spiking at bars and entertainment venues has led to credit card fraud, robbery and even physical and sexual assaults. Remain vigilant even if you are in a seemingly safe bar.
Know when to say when! Criminals single out intoxicated persons as easy victims.
Obey the law! Remember that possession (even a “small” amount) or use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, are serious crimes in Japan. Convictions for drug offenses result in lengthy sentences.
If you believe you have been a victim of a crime, contact the police right away. You should also immediately call the Embassy. In cases of credit card fraud you must file a police report at the nearest police station before you leave Japan. The Japanese police do not provide you a copy of the police report, but they issue a report number. You can provide this report number to your credit card company in order to confirm the incident with the police. The Japanese police cannot accept reports filed from overseas.
For further information about security in Japan:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Japan Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of either the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. Consulates in Japan.
U.S. Embassy Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
After Hours: 03-3224-5000
The U.S. Embassy serves Americans in Tokyo, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Yamagata and Yamanashi.
11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543; Tel: 06-6315-5912, Fax: 06-6315-5914; serving Americans in Osaka, Aichi, Ehime, Fukui, Gifu, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kochi, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Okayama, Shimane, Shiga, Tokushima, Tottori, Toyama, and Wakayama prefectures.
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor, 1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001; Tel (052) 581-4501, Fax: (052) 581-3190; providing emergency consular services only (including death and arrest cases) for Americans living in Aichi, Gifu, and Mie prefectures.
5-26, Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052; Tel: 092-751-9331, Fax: 092-725-3772; serving Americans in Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga and Yamaguchi prefectures.
Kita 1-jo, Nishi 28-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0821; Tel: 011-641-1115, Fax: 011-643-1283; serving Americans in Akita, Aomori, Hokkaido, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.
2-1-1 Toyama, Urasoe City, Okinawa 901-2104; Phone: 098.876.4211, Fax: 098.876.4243; serving Americans in Okinawa and the Amami Oshima Island group