The Japanese Emergency Number 1-1-9!

By Donnie | Articles

Just a short post today, everybody.

I don’t know why, but my curiosity got the better of me a few days ago. I wanted to know what the emergency service in Japan was like on the other end of the phone. I was also wanted to make sure that it was okay to dial 1-1-9 from a cell phone. I was curious about how fast the emergency response is here in Japan, whether or not the operators speak any English, etc..

Yes, I know it was a bit stupid of me to dial 1-1-9 without a pending emergency*, but I don’t want to have to figure it out when a pending emergency happens, so I just decided to try my luck. I dialed from my cell phone the first time, and when I heard the phone was ringing, I hung up. A little while later I decided to call again, and wait to hear a voice. A Japanese man answered (in all-Japanese) and once again I hung up :O . I think hanging up on the emergency service two consecutive times, with no emergency, is a no-no. I flipped my phone closed, and thought to myself “Well, at least I know now.”

Maybe about one to two minutes after I closed my phone, I got a phone call. I picked up, and it was the same Japanese operator that had been speaking on my last phone call. He was calling to make sure that everything was okay, and to see if I needed assistance. I apologized to him and tried my best to explain a bit. In the end, it was no harm no foul.

So the moral of the story is, don’t dial 1-1-9 if you don’t have an emergency.

Now, you can just take my word for it.

Yes, dialing 1-1-9 does work fine from your cell phone. I don’t know why I thought it wouldnt’t. In this age of cellphones and smart phones galore, I guess it would have to. I must have been thinking about Skype or something. Isn’t it Skype that doesn’t want you to dial emergency numbers using their service?

It’s useful to know that the person speaking on the other end will indeed pick up very quickly and will most likely be speaking to you in Japanese. If you hang up, they will call you back, immediately.

I hope you don’t ever really need to use the number.


Donald Ash

P.S.- Why do I have this feeling that somebody reading this is going to try dialing the number anyway. LOL.

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  • ぜんぜんじゃない尾。。>>。。 -cough- I’d never do such a thing. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Petaris

    Too bad there isn’t just an international standard emergency number. US: 911, UK: 999, JP: 119. I am curious, did you find out if they have English service?

    Also, for a laugh take a look at this clip from an episode of The IT Crowd about the UK emergency services number:

  • Michael Dan Alutaya

    Anyone wants to speak in Japanese via skype? speak in japanese skype

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