H&R Group – Staying Safe in Japan during Typhoon season

Staying Safe

Typhoon season in Japan usually runs from June to December, but most typhoon activity occurs between the months of July and September.

Southern parts of Japan, such as Okinawa or Kagoshima are particularly affected by these storms, but residents of any part of Japan are likely to experience one or more during their time here.

A typhoon is the same as a hurricane or tropical cyclone.  All three  are regionally specific names for a storm that falls in the highest classification of storm based on wind speed.  Lower levels of storms include: Tropical Depression, Tropical Storms, etc… the preparation and safety tips remain the same for these lower level storms.

A Typhoon is characterized by:

  • High winds powerful enough to damage or destroy buildings, trees, power and telephone lines, and hurl debris at dangerous speeds.
  • Storm surges, or temporary rises in sea levels, which can flood coastal areas and damage buildings near the shore
  • Very heavy rainfall  that can cause flooding and mudslides

What to do if a Typhoon is Approaching

Typhoons are notoriously difficult to accurately predict where, when and at what strength they will strike land.  They will often veer off-course, change or  their speed, or intensify  quite suddenly.  Many times Typhoons that were predicted to hit have missed completely, or vice versa, suddenly bearing down on the city it was expected to miss.

Watch NHK Television

  • NHK – while not always in English, important notices are given in English.

Listen to US Armed Forces Network (AFN) Radio

AFN Radio provides regular weather bulletins in English. You can listen to AFN on

  • 89.1 FM  in Okinawa
  • 1575 AM in Nagasaki and Hiroshima Regions
  • 810 AM   in the Kanto Region

Make an Emergency Kit

What to do if a Typhoon Strikes Keep Safe from Heavy Rainfall

  • If possible, stay at home and keep advised of the situation by watching NHK. While not always in English, important notices are given in English on NHK.
  • Be prepared to evacuate by knowing where to go, and having a disaster kit prepared and on hand.
  • Stay clear of rivers / streams and large drains. There is potential for any of them to overflow without warning.
  • Avoid using a vehicle, especially in the dark, as it is difficult to see flooded areas and it is often too late once you enter them. Kindly note that your insurance is, for the most part, unlikely to cover the loss of your vehicle due to flooding.
  • If your parking spot is in a low lying area, move your car to a local supermarket or other such car parks that are on higher land. This would be advisable especially if there is already 5- 10 cm of water that you need to wade through around your vehicle.

Keep Safe from High Winds

  •  Stay inside! Keep advised of the situation by watching NHK. While not always in English, important notices are given in English on NHK.
  • Secure or move inside outdoor items such as toys, grills, bicycles, furniture, plants and anything movable on the balcony. Move potted plants and other heavy objects away from windows inside as well.
  • If you have shutters on your windows and doors, pull them shut. Shutters can prevent your windows from being broken by flying items.
  • Set your freezer to the coldest temperature setting to minimize spoilage if the power is cut off
  • Watch for leaks around windows and doors. If the wind is strong enough, water may be blown into your home even if the windows are closed. Have handy towels, rags and mops
  • If the storm becomes severe, move into a hallway or area where there is the least exposure to external glass windows.
  • Draw curtains across the windows to prevent against flying glass should windows crack.
  • A window on the side of the house away from the approaching storm should be opened a few inches. This will compensate for the differences of indoor and outdoor air pressure.
  • Remember that typhoons have “eyes”, areas in their center where the weather appears calm. If the eye passes over your area, it may appear that the storm has finished, with winds then picking up again as the remainder of the storm arrives
  • After the typhoon is gone, check for broken glass, fallen trees and downed power lines which may present safety hazards near children’s school bus stops, outdoor trash areas, around your car, etc.

Keep Safe from Storm Surge 

  • Keep advised of the situation by watching NHK (Channels 1 and 3)
  • Be prepared to evacuate by knowing where to go, and having a disaster kit prepared and on hand.

Keep Informed – For More Information

This article is brought to you by the H&R Group
Who is the H&R Group?