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Japan gov't launches emergency email system for citizens in South Korea

The Japanese government has launched an email safety confirmation system for its citizens in South Korea in case of emergency.

The government created the system for use in case of military contingencies, synchronized terrorist attacks or serious natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami. Not only Japanese residents of South Korea but also those there on short trips can use the system, which was tested in Seoul on Jan. 30 before going into operation.

Japanese nationals overseas for three months or more are required to register their addresses and phone numbers with the government. In case of emergency, the Japanese authorities would send notifications to people in this database, detailing the situation and including a URL the recipients would need to click to notify Tokyo of their names, ages and locations as well as whether they are safe.

In the Jan. 30 test, the government sent an email to about 400 Japanese people living in Seoul and they responded.

The government will send the messages to those on short stays in South Korea if they register their email addresses and phone numbers with the Foreign Ministry's safety information transmission service, known as "Tabireji." The safety confirmation system for short overseas stays will also be available for those in places other than South Korea.

Previously, Japanese embassies and consulates have confirmed the safety of Japanese nationals through a phone contact tree, in cooperation with local Japanese residents' groups and commerce and industry associations. However, since approximately 38,000 Japanese people live in South Korea, the government has instead chosen to use emails and text messages to swiftly confirm its citizens' safety in major emergencies.

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