Country-specific safety information
The Foreign Office continues to expressly warn against staying in the red zone around the Fukushima I nuclear power plant in the northeast of the island of Honshu, which has been designated by the Japanese government (partial travel warning). Unnecessary short trips and all long-term trips to the Yellow and Green Zones are not recommended.
On March 11, 2011, a severe seaquake with a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred in northeast Japan about 130 kilometers east of the city of Sendai and almost 400 kilometers northeast of the capital Tokyo. As a result, a tsunami hit large parts of the northeast coast of Japan, causing severe damage and claiming numerous victims. Core meltdowns occurred in three blocks of the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, with the subsequent release of radioactive substances. The plants are currently in a relatively stable condition. Efforts to limit the remaining hazards continue.
From a radiological point of view, it is safe to stay in all of Japan except in the evacuated areas.
The evacuated areas are – the 20 km radius around the nuclear power plant as determined by the Japanese government and – the entire area of the locality of Iitate outside this radius and parts of the localities of Katsurao, Minamisōma and Kawamata (external link, opens in new window www.meti.go.jp).
According to oxfordastronomy, the Japanese government has divided the evacuated areas into three zones (Green Zone – Yellow Zone – Red Zone) (external link, opens in new window www.meti.go.jp/earthquake). In each of the zones there is a limitation on the permitted activities and a definition of the precautionary measures that must be observed when entering the zones. The red zone is still a restricted area.
Necessary trips to the evacuated areas should only be made after contacting the responsible regional authorities. As these are evacuated areas, a long-term stay in these areas is still not recommended as a precaution.
Because a change in the radiological situation at the Fukushima I nuclear power plant is unlikely but not completely ruled out, it is recommended to follow local media coverage carefully. Instructions from the Japanese authorities should be strictly followed.
Further information is available on the homepage of the external link, opens in a new window German diplomatic missions in Japan.
If you have any questions about reactor safety and radiation protection, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety provides information: External link, opens in a new windowhttp: //www.bmub.bund.de/.
The Federal Foreign Office is closely monitoring the security situation in the region, especially on the Korean peninsula. There are currently no indications of a specific risk to German citizens staying in Japan. German nationals who are staying (even temporarily) in Japan are advised to register on the external link that opens in a new window the embassy list of Germans.
The crime rate in Japan is low. However, credit card fraud can occur especially in the evenings and at night in the Roppongi and Shinjuku (Kabuki-cho) districts of Tokyo. Men are invited to visit relevant bars on the street and receive drinks with sleep or will-changing agents. The travelers then receive inflated bills, which for lack of cash – sometimes under threat of violence – are to be paid by credit card. It is not uncommon for the credit card statement to show an even higher amount. Travelers who have been the victim of such fraud should notify the credit card company and immediately contact the local police station to file a complaint. In some cases, a refund can be made.
Japanese yen. Currency abbreviation: ¥, JPY (ISO code). Banknotes are in circulation in denominations of 10,000, 5000, 2000 and 1000 ¥. Coins in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 ¥.
Visa, Diners Club, American Express, MasterCard or Prepaid MasterCard and other larger credit cards are accepted by hotels and department stores in larger cities. Details from the issuer of the respective credit card.
ec / Maestro card / Sparcard
ATMs are widely used, but they do not accept foreign cards. It is now possible to withdraw money from ATMs in the SevenEleven supermarkets using an ec / Maestro card that has a Maestro symbol. ATMs are available during normal opening hours, so this service can only be used to a limited extent on weekends. Foreign credit and debit cards are also accepted at the over 21,000 ATMs at Japanese post offices, which are typically open Mon-Fri 7 am-11pm and Sat-Sun 9 am-7pm. Citibank ATMs also accept foreign credit cards and are often open around the clock.
Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.
Bank opening times
Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Foreign exchange regulations
No restrictions on the import or export of national and foreign currencies. Amounts with an equivalent value of ¥ 1 million or more must be declared.
Money must be exchanged at authorized banks or exchange offices. The easiest way to exchange US dollars is.