The Leading Global Portal for Diplomats!    
    Keep in touch with the community Prepare for your new career Take care of personal affairs Chat with diplomats online      
Home > New Posting > Post Reports
Preface Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:42 AM

For a country that lived in self-imposed isolation until 150 years ago, Japan has not hesitated to make up for lost time.

It is a place of ancient gods and customs but is also the cutting edge of cool modernity. High-speed trains whisk you from one end of the country to another with frightening punctuality. You can catch sight of a farmer tending his paddy field, then turn the corner and find yourself next to a neon-festooned electronic games parlor in the suburb of a sprawling metropolis.

Few other countries have, in the space of mere generations, experienced so much or made such an impact. Industrialized at lightning speed, Japan shed its feudal trappings to become the most powerful country in Asia in a matter of decades. After defeat in World War II, it transformed itself to a wonder economy, the envy of the globe.

In the cities you will first be struck by the mass of people. In this mountainous country, the vast majority of the 126 million population live on the crowded coastal plains of the main island of Honshu. The three other main islands, running north to south, are Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and all are linked to Honshu by bridges and tunnels that are part of one of Japan’s modern wonders -- its efficient transport network of trains and highways.

Outside the cities, there is a vast range of options from the wide open spaces and deep volcanic lakes of Hokkaido, blanketed by snow every winter, to the balmy subtropical islands of Okinawa. You will seldom have to travel far to catch sight of a lofty castle, ancient temple or shrine or locals celebrating at a colorful street festival. The Japanese are inveterate travelers within their own country and there is hardly a town or village, no matter how small or plain, that does not boast some unique attraction.

Rampant development and sometimes appalling pollution is difficult to square with a country also renowned for cleanliness and appreciation of nature. Part of the problem is that natural cataclysms, such as earthquakes and typhoons, regularly hit Japan, so few people expect things to last for long.

And yet, time and again, Japan redeems itself with unexpectedly beautiful landscapes, charmingly courteous people, and its tangible sense of history and cherished traditions. Most intriguing of all is the opaqueness at the heart of this mysterious hidden culture that stems from a blurring of traditional boundaries between East and West. Japan is neither wholly one nor the other.

This is the official post report prepared by the post. The information contained herein is directed to official U.S. Government employees and their families. Any other information concerning the facts set forth herein is to be regarded as unofficial information.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 10658 Bureau of Administration Office of Multi-Media Services

Released July 2001

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:43 AM

Japan, a country of islands, extends along the eastern or Pacific coast of Asia. The main islands, running from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu or the mainland Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa, which is about 380 miles southwest of Kyushu. About 3,000 smaller islands are included in the archipelago. In total land area, Japan is slightly smaller than California.

About 71% of the country is mountainous, with a chain running through each of the main islands. Japan’s highest mountain is world famous Mt. Fuji (12,385 feet). Since so little flat area exists, many hills and mountainsides are cultivated all the way to the top. Situated as it is in a volcanic zone along the Pacific deeps, frequent low intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity are felt throughout the islands. Hot springs are numerous; some have been developed as resorts.

Temperature extremes are fewer than in the U.S. since no part of the interior is more than 100 miles from the coast. At the same time, because the islands run almost directly north-south, the climate varies. Sapporo, on the northern island, has warm summers and long, cold winters with heavy snowfall. Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, on the southern part of the largest island of Honshu, experience relatively mild winters with little or no snowfall and hot, humid summers. Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu, has a climate similar to that of Washington, D.C. with mild winters and short summers. Okinawa is subtropical.

Spring, with its profusion of cherry blossoms and other flowering trees and shrubs, and autumn, with its gold and flaming red trees and lovely fall flowers, are the most pleasant seasons. The hot, humid summers are difficult in the cities, but the sandy beaches along the coast and the many fine mountain resorts provide pleasant relief. The rather mild and dry winters are not as severe as the U.S. East Coast; it rarely snows or rains in the Tokyo area at this time of year. The climate causes no more of a problem with mildew, mold, moths, mosquitoes or other pests than is experienced in Washington, D.C.

Average Yearly Temperatures in °F:

Winter Spring Summer Fall Sapporo 25.0 42.4 66.6 55.9 Tokyo 41.4 55.6 75.9 63.0 Osaka/Kobe 41.9 58.4 78.4 64.0 Fukuoka 42.8 56.7 77.2 63.9 Naha 62.3 69.6 81.2 75.5

Population Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:44 AM

Japan’s population, currently some 125 million, has experienced a phenomenal growth rate during the past 100 years as a result of scientific, industrial, and sociological changes. High sanitary and health standards produce a life expectancy exceeding that of the US.

The Japanese are a Mongoloid people, closely related to the major groups of East Asia. However, some evidence of a mixture with Malayan and Caucasoid strains is present. The latter is still represented in pure form by a very small group of Ainu in Hokkaido, the remains of the Caucasoid people who inhabited Japan in prehistoric times, and who perhaps formed a portion of a circumpolar culture extending across Siberia to European Russia.

The Japanese usually are described as group oriented rather than individually oriented. Geography is the main reason for this group orientation. Many people confined in a small land area poorly endowed with natural resources traditionally work together for the good of the whole.

In premodern Japan the extended family or clan system provided security for the component families. Industrialization and urbanization broke up this type of family system, but the paternalistic tradition has continued through government social welfare agencies and, to a greater degree, through large companies that provide more fringe benefits than their Western counterparts.

The Japanese are always conscious of their uniqueness as a people. They are proud of their country, its great natural beauty, distinct culture, and the important role it plays in the modern world. Because the Japanese are polite and cautious in approaching social situations, they often impress foreigners as being shy and reserved, but beneath this they are always interested and curious to learn about foreign ideas and attitudes.

Japan’s communication with the rest of the world, from commerce to the arts, has been hampered by a language barrier. Japanese is a difficult language with a complicated writing system. Relatively few non-Japanese are completely bilingual. Although English has been for many years the international language of Japan, and the study of English is compulsory in Japanese junior and senior high schools, the Japanese have as difficult a time with English as non-Japanese speakers do with Japanese. The average person can speak only a few words, and business representatives and government officials are constantly trying to improve their command of the language. Instruction in English conversation is in great demand, and it is a common experience for an American to be stopped on the street by someone who just wants to practice a few sentences of English.

Japan is an urban society with only about 7% of the labor force engaged in agriculture. Many farmers supplement their income with part-time jobs in nearby towns and cities. About 80 million of the urban population are heavily concentrated on the Pacific shore of Honshu and in northern Kyushu. Metropolitan Tokyo with approximately 14 million, Yokohama with 3.3 million, Osaka 2.6, Nagoya 2.1, Kyoto 1.5, Sapporo 1.6, Kobe 1.4, and Kitakyushu, Kawasaki, and Fukuoka with 1.2 million each account for part of this population. Japan faces the same problems that confront urban industrialized societies throughout the world: overcrowded cities, congested highways, air pollution, and rising juvenile delinquency.

Shintoism and Buddhism are Japan’s two principal religions. Buddhism first came to Japan in the 6th century and for the next 10 centuries exerted profound influence on its intellectual, artistic, social, and political life. Although still important, it is a relatively inactive religious form today. Monasteries and temples, large and small, dot the landscape but usually play only subdued background role in the life of the community. Most funerals are conducted by Buddhist priests, and burial grounds attached to temples are used by both faiths.

Shintoism is founded on myths and legends emanating from the early animistic worship of natural phenomena. Since it was unconcerned with problems of afterlife that dominated Buddhist thought, and since Buddhism easily accommodated itself to local faiths, the two religions comfortably coexisted, and Shinto shrines and Buddhist monasteries often became administratively linked. Today, many Japanese are adherents of both faiths. From the 16th to the 19th century Shintoism flourished, eventually seeking unity under a symbolic imperial rule. Adopted by the leaders of the Meiji restoration, it received state support and was cultivated as a spur to patriotic and nationalistic feelings. Following World War II, state support was discontinued and the Emperor disavowed divinity. Today, Shintoism plays a more peripheral role in the life of the Japanese people. The numerous shrines are visited regularly by a few believers and, if they are historically famous or known for natural beauty, by many sightseers. Many marriages are held in the shrines, and children are brought after birth and on certain anniversary dates; special shrine days are celebrated for specific occasions, and numerous festivals are held throughout the year. Many homes have “god shelves” where offerings can be made to Shinto deities.

Confucianism arrived with the first great wave of Chinese influence into Japan between the 6th and 9th centuries. Overshadowed by Buddhism, it survived as an organized philosophy into the late 19th century and remains today as an important strain in Japanese thought and values.

Christianity, first introduced into Japan in 1549, was virtually stamped out a century later; it was reintroduced in the late 1800s and has spread slowly. Today, it has 1.4 million adherents, which includes a high percentage of important persons in education and public affairs.

Beyond these three traditional religions, many Japanese today are turning to a great variety of popular religious movements normally lumped together under the name “new religions.” These religions draw on the concept of Shinto, Buddhism, and folk superstition and have developed in part to meet the social needs of elements of the population. The officially recognized new religions number in the hundreds and total membership is reportedly in the tens of millions.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Japan’s parliamentary government—a constitutional monarchy—operates within the framework of a constitution that took effect on May 3, 1947. Sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people by constitutional definition, and the Emperor is the symbol of the state, “deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.”

Japan has universal adult suffrage with secret ballot for all elective offices, national and local. The government has an executive responsible to the legislature and an independent judiciary.

The seven major political parties represented in the National Diet are the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Clean Government Party (Komeito), the Liberal Party (LP), the Japan Communist Party (JCP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the Conservative Party (CP).

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Japan’s educational system is based on 6 years of elementary and 3 years of middle or junior high school. Schooling is compulsory and free. More than 97% of children finishing middle school go on for 3 years of upper or senior high school.

Japan has over 1,174 universities, colleges, and junior colleges and over 3 million college students, making it second only to the U.S. in the proportion of its college-age population that are students. Nevertheless, the most prestigious Japanese universities can accept only a fraction of the applicants. About half of the Japanese university students study in the Tokyo area. Before senior high school and college, students must take extremely rigorous competitive entrance examinations. The most difficult college entrance examinations are for national universities like Tokyo and Kyoto.

Despite the difficulty of the written language, Japan has one of the world’s highest literacy rates. It is a country of readers, ranking second only to the U.S. in book publishing.

Japan’s unique culture includes centuries-old graphic and performing arts. Modern theater forms and modern graphic arts are very popular, and Japanese artists and designers are among the world’s best. Institutions like Tokyo’s National Theater continue to preserve and encourage traditional art forms. Flower arranging (ikebana), one of the unique cultural heritages, originated in the 1300s with the advent of the tea ceremony; today Japan has 3,000–4,000 ikebana schools with millions of followers. The tea ceremony (chanoyu), perfected in the 16th century, fascinates both participants and spectators by its simplicity and elegance, designed to create peace of mind in both the performer and the partaker. Kabuki, one of the most colorful forms of traditional Japanese entertainment, a bustling, exaggerated drama accompanied by music and song, and Noh, a form of Japanese court dance characterized by use of masks, are performed regularly in cities throughout Japan. Martial arts which include judo, karate, kendo, aikido, and Japanese long-bow archery draw on Zen philosophy and traditionally have as their objective the achievement of self-discipline and inner peace. Martial arts performances can be seen regularly in the leading cities.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Japan’s industrialized free market economy is the world’s second largest, after the U.S. Together the two countries comprise over 30% of global output. Japan’s economy provides the Japanese people with a high standard of living: per capita GDP in 1999 was $24,075.

With only one-sixth of its land arable, Japan produces roughly half of the food required for its population. Food self-sufficiency rates continue to fall, however, with the Agriculture Ministry predicting a rate of 40% by 2005. Fish is a staple of the Japanese diet, and Japan maintains one of the world’s largest fishing fleets. It currently ranks third among the top fishing countries, accounting for almost 6% of global fishery production. Demand for imported food has increased yearly as Japanese dietary preferences change toward meat, bread, and dairy products. Japan imported over $47 billion in foodstuffs in 1997.

Japan’s natural resources can supply only a fraction of the raw materials needed by industry. For example, Japan imports more than 80% of its primary energy supply. Foreign trade is therefore vital; reliable sources of raw materials and stable export markets are essential to continued economic prosperity. With close government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, and a mastery of high technology, Japan’s industries have risen to become household names and world leaders in the production of autos, electronics, and machinery.

The U.S. is Japan’s leading trade partner; Japan is our third largest foreign market, and the largest for U.S. agricultural products. Japan’s exports to the U.S. are primarily motor vehicles, machinery, and electronic products. The bulk of U.S. exports to Japan are agricultural products, raw materials, and high-technology products, such as aircraft and computers.


Automobiles Last Updated: 7/13/2004 1:34 AM

A personally owned vehicle is not absolutely essential in view of the excellent public transportation systems in Tokyo and throughout most of Japan. However, most employees, particularly those with families, do have their own vehicles for the convenience of traveling outside Tokyo on weekends and for shopping trips to military bases. Each residential unit on the housing compound and each U.S. Government-rented residential unit is provided with a parking space for one vehicle. The Embassy does not provide official transport for personal use or home to work commuting; take this into consideration when making a decision about importing a personally owned vehicle.

Do not bring luxury-class cars to post. Tokyo’s streets are narrow and parking spaces on the housing compound and elsewhere tend to be small. Campers and vans with high clearance (over 6’ 10’’) will not fit into the covered parking areas at the housing compound. A compact car or mini-van with air-conditioning and power steering is recommended. Since advance import clearance is not permitted, do not ship cars to post to arrive before you (see Getting to the Post for detailed shipping instructions).

All vehicles must be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To obtain registration, you must provide proof of ownership (factory invoice or bill of sale) and a valid insurance policy. Third-party insurance is compulsory. Embassy minimum requirements are: Ą20,000,000 (bodily injury or death), and Ą2,000,000 (property damage), plus Japanese compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance (JCI or CALI) and its premium is currently Ą16,950. Premiums for third-party insurance differ by the age of owner and capacity of engine displacement and are currently Ą60,340 for age 26 with 1,500 cc-2,500 cc.

A vehicle imported under diplomatic procedures can be sold (consumption) tax-free if it has been registered with the Ministry for at least 2 years. Exceptions to the 2-year requirement will be considered only if the vehicle has been severely damaged or is sold to another person entitled to free entry. If the owner of a vehicle is transferred or loses official status, and the car has been registered for less than 2 years, it must be exported, sold to another person entitled to free entry, or disposed of on the local market by paying consumption tax. Personally owned cars cannot be sold by proxy.

Many people purchase a used car for use while in Japan since these vehicles are in good supply and available at relatively reasonable prices. Write the Management Section for information, if time permits, before making your final plans.

Currently, automobiles manufactured after March 31, 1976, face stringent import restrictions for all classifications of foreigners, except personnel assigned to Embassies and Consulates in Japan who are reported to the Foreign Office. In practical terms, vehicles manufactured after the March 31, 1976 deadline and imported by Mission personnel will be extremely difficult to sell in-country unless they meet Japanese emission standards. Alterations to such vehicles may exceed the value of the vehicle. In short, it is likely that any imported vehicle manufactured after March 31, 1976, will have to be exported at the conclusion of the importer’s tour unless it is sold to someone with the same free-entry privilege.

Traffic moves on the left and most cars are right-hand drive. However, those with left-hand drive report little or no difficulty driving. Most makes of American cars have local distributors who are competent in maintenance and repair. Replacements for the more complicated mechanisms, such as automatic shift or power steering, may have to be ordered from the U.S. Repair facilities for European makes can be found, but spare parts often have to be ordered from abroad, and prices for parts and services are higher than in the U.S.

Gasoline costs more than in the U.S. The Japanese Government issues tax-free coupons to all assigned Mission personnel for use at specified tax-free gas stations throughout Japan. Mission personnel are permitted to buy from U.S. military installation stations (one is at Hardy Barracks, not far from the Chancery), which sell unleaded gasoline at higher than stateside prices. Unleaded gasoline is also available from Japanese stations tax free.

Japanese streets and roads are generally congested with cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes, and bicycles. Japanese cars are small by American standards but are advantageous in the narrow streets and limited parking areas. Driving is complicated by the fact that many road signs are written in Japanese kanji, and most Tokyo streets are not numbered or marked at all. Maps are essential for getting around in the city. Rental cars are available, but the charges are exorbitant.

To register a vehicle with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, employees and dependents must apply for a Japanese driver’s license issued by the Public Safety Commission. In order to have your U.S. driver’s license converted to a Japanese driver’s license, you must appear in person at the licensing office and submit official documents to prove that you had been in the U.S. for a minimum of three full months during the time your U.S. driver’s license was effective.

The Japanese driving licensing office will check the issuance date and expiration date on your U.S. driver’s license and also check the issuance date, embarkation/disembarkation stamp dates, date of entry permit on your passport and compare the two. They will accept your application if it reflects that you have been in the U.S. for 3 months anytime your U.S. driver’s license was effective.

If your U.S. driver’s license was renewed recently, and you were not physically present for 3 months in the U.S. before your initial arrival date to Japan, you will be required to submit an original document issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State where your license was issued that lists your previous driver’s license records. The authorities will compare the DMV records with your passport entry/exit stamps and issuance date in an attempt to verify your physical presence in the U.S. for 3 months in total. Post strongly recommends that when renewing your U.S. driver’s license that you also request a driver’s license history record from the DMV. You should bring an original DMV driver’s license history record with you to post. Additionally, you should bring all current and expired diplomatic/official and tourist passports for date requirements.

Necessary items to apply for a Japanese driver’s license:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs ID card (receive at post) Valid U.S. driver’s license (if recently renewed and has not been valid for three full months before your arrival date to Japan, you will need to submit an official document that lists your previous driver’s license history record from the DMV). Japanese translation of your U.S. driver’s license (provided at post). Diplomatic/official and tourist passport(s) or any official document that will certify that you have been in the U.S. for 3 months (e.g., expired passports, school records, letter from prior employer, copies of travel orders indicating a stateside tour.) One photo (size must be 3 cm x 2.4 cm) 6. Application fee is Ą4,150 for Administrative and Technical staff only. For those with diplomatic status, there is no charge. Yokohama. Most students, especially those bringing families to Yokohama, find it worthwhile to have a car for shopping trips to U.S. bases or for travel and sightseeing on weekends. Others get by without a car, relying on travel by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, taxi, or the region’s excellent public transportation network. Used cars are available fairly cheaply, and the U.S. bases sell gas at prices close to those in the U.S. Roads are usually congested, and expressway tolls are high. Parking in downtown areas often costs around Ą500 per hour, although shopping centers usually discount parking for customers who spend over a certain amount. There is no student parking at FSI; students commute by foot, bicycle, motorcycle or bus. FSI sits atop a steep hill, and the nearest bus stop is at the bottom of the hill.

The school and most student homes are near bus lines that offer frequent service to downtown Yokohama and to the nearest train stations. The rail network offers extensive and efficient, though not cheap, service from Yokohama throughout the Kanto area. Downtown Tokyo and the Embassy are about 1-1/2–2 hours away by either train or car. The larger U.S. bases can be reached by train, but going by car may be faster and more convenient.

Upon arrival in Japan, State Department students generally are met at the airport and taken directly to their permanent housing. Each new class is taken by Embassy van to the Embassy a day or two after arrival for administrative check-in.

Send UAB and HHE in care of the American Embassy, Tokyo. For further information see "The Host Country - Transportation" and "Notes for Travel-ers" in this post report, or contact the FSI Yokohama Director.

Sapporo. Reasonably priced used cars are available in Sapporo. Four-wheel drive is useful, particularly outside the city in winter. Since Japanese drive on the left, right-hand drive cars make passing and turning hazardous.

Okinawa. The limitations of public transportation make a car essential on Okinawa. A small car is appropriate for the many narrow and congested roads. Compared to elsewhere in Japan, cars here tend to be less costly to maintain, and probably easier to sell on departure. Cars deteriorate rapidly on Okinawa due to the humid climate and salt air, and regular steam cleaning and undercoating are advised. Spare parts for many foreign cars, including some of the more popular American models, are limited and expensive. Good used cars can be purchased from departing American personnel or from local used car dealers. Financing and insurance are available from American firms here. Insurance rates are considerably higher than in the U.S.

Consular license plates take about a month to arrive from Tokyo after a car has been purchased. Japanese drivers’ licenses are obtained in a day upon presentation of a valid U.S. license. Public buses are a clean, safe and reliable, though expensive option. The Consulate General is not accessible to public transportation without long walks or several changes of bus lines. Taxis are numerous and less expensive than in Tokyo. Only designated taxis are allowed to enter the U.S. bases. Recently, all families at post have had two cars.

New cars are readily available but not recommended. Although Okinawa has a Ford dealer, repairs and spare parts for U.S.-made cars, including American-made Japanese models, are difficult to obtain. Reliable used Japanese cars can be purchased for about $2,000–$3,000, but may be expected to require substantial upkeep and repair expenditures during a 3-year tour. On-base car repair facilities are local concessions, so the cost is at least as high as at off-base shops. The high humidity, heavy with salt from the ocean, and blowing coral dust are hard on metal, and cars rust quickly. The on-base price for gasoline (89 octane and diesel only) is about the same as the average price in the U.S.

Consulate General personnel are exempt from the rigorous Government of Japan auto inspection law. Constant care is required to prevent rapid deterioration. Adequate repair service can be obtained from PX and local garages. The current PX self-service price for unleaded gas is a little higher than those in the U.S.; there is no leaded gasoline.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 1/18/2005 0:34 AM

The public transportation systems of Japan’s major cities are among the most modern in Asia and include excellent trains, extensive subway systems, and buses. All cities have an abundance of taxis. As in all heavily populated areas, transportation facilities are overtaxed, particularly during rush hours. Japan Railway (JR) electric trains link the major parts of Tokyo with outlying towns and cities, and the subway system crisscrossing Tokyo is the most inexpensive transportation in the city. Osaka has a JR loop line, and subway systems are also located in Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo. Bus service links subway and loop train lines in Tokyo and is the system of local transportation in cities and towns throughout Japan. Signs and directions in subway and railway stations in the major cities usually appear in English as well as Japanese, making subway and rail travel relatively simple for the non-Japanese-speaking traveler.

Cruising taxis are plentiful. Taxis are safe and clean, though not inexpensive. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so have directions to your destination written in Japanese. Most hotels have these instructions at the front desk to assist their guests in returning to the hotel. Taxi doors are operated by the driver, opening and closing automatically. Taxis are metered; the charge in Tokyo is Y660 for the first 2 kilometers plus Y80 for each additional 274 meters. There are additional charges for slow movement in traffic and late-night service. Consumption tax is added to the total fare amount. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 1/18/2005 0:39 AM

Most of the country is served by the JR system. The Shinkansen (popularly known as the bullet train) is a familiar sight speeding across the Japanese countryside connecting Tokyo and many of the larger cities throughout Japan. These and other express and local trains combine to form a vast rail network that is heavily used. Sleeping, dining, and first-class (green) coaches are available on the main lines. Trains maintain strict schedules, and the personnel are polite and efficient. Porters or redcaps are available at all principal stations although they are extremely few in number. Their charges range from Y200 to Y300 per piece of baggage or more if the baggage is extremely heavy.

Most of the major international airlines and a number of steamship companies provide service to Japan. Domestic air travel is quite extensive. Several domestic airlines operate to all the major cities in Japan; airbus service has been instituted between Tokyo and several cities. The airport used for domestic travel is Haneda, 23 kilometers from Tokyo. Rapid monorail or bus service is available from Haneda to downtown Tokyo locations, and taxis are plentiful. The taxi fare is around Y6,500.

The new Tokyo International Airport at Narita, about 77 kilometers from Tokyo, is used for all international flights (except those of China Airlines, the Republic of China national carrier that operates from Haneda). Surface transportation from Narita into the city is commonly via limousine bus directly to the Tokyo City Air Terminal (TCAT) or by taxi. Train service is also available, but its use is not recommended for the newcomer due to the complicated connections. Transit time by bus and taxi can be time consuming, at least 1-1/2 hours, often more, depending on traffic conditions on the heavily congested highways serving the airport from central Tokyo. The airport limousine bus fare is Ą3,000, and taxi fare is approximately Ą27,000, including toll charges.

Many express toll roads are excellent. Almost all roads are paved. The main roads are generally in good condition, the secondary roads are more inclined to be narrow and winding.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Overseas calls can be direct dialed from the Embassy or compound using either the International Voice Gateway (IVG) or any of several American and Japanese carriers. To obtain the lowest possible rates, bring a telephone credit card from AT&T, MCI, or SPRINT. These carriers also provide International Long Distance service from any phone within Japan. Fax service is available for both official and personal messages through fax number (813) 3505-1862.

Telephone service, through the Embassy telephone system, is provided to each unit on the housing compound. There is a telecommunications charge for both this service and cable TV. Charges for long-distance calls are additional.

International telegrams can be sent from any Kokusai Denshin Denwa (KDD) office in any leading city, any local telegraph or telephone office, and most hotels.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Postal rates for ordinary letters addressed within Japan are Ą80 and for ordinary postcards Ą50. International postal rates to the U.S. for airmail letters are Ą110 for the first 25 grams; postcards Ą70, aerogram Ą90, and printed matter up to 20 grams Ą80 plus Ą40 for each additional 2 grams. Mail via the Army and Air Force Postal Service (APO) arrives daily. The APO provides full service, including express mail service. The mail transit times for first-class mail varies from 6 to 10 days. Third- and fourth-class mail is received by surface and may take 3 weeks to 1 month. The Department pouch can be used only for official mail. Letters and packages under 70 pounds can be sent through APO channels by either Express, Priority, SAM, or PAL service.

Address all mail through the APO facilities as follows:

(Name) American Embassy Box* Unit 45004 APO AP 96337-5004

Insert correct box number for the office to which you are assigned from the list below:


ADM 209 AGRI 226 AMB 200 DAO 222 ATO 241 CONS 205 CUSTOMS 221 DCM 218 DEA 224 DOE 219 E/MIN 243 ECLO 268 ECON 203 EST 235 EWA 238 FAA 207 FCS 204 FINAT 216 FISH 217 FMC 213 FUKUOKA 242 GSO 212 HU 214 IMO 275 INS 231 IPC 230 IRS 208 ISC 234 ITC 233 LABOR 232 LEGATT 223 MDO 225 MLCO 237 MLG 220 MSG 206 NAGOYA 280 NASA 272 NSF 236 OSAKA 239 PCO 227 PER 211 POL 201 POL/T 264 PSU 228 RAS 202 RES 257 RSO 210 SAPPORO 276 SARRG 274 PAS 215 USTC 229

Pouch address for Tokyo is as follows:

Department of State 9800 Tokyo Place (or Pl.) Washington, D.C. 20521-9800


Radio and TV Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Far East Network (FEN) is an affiliate of the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network. FEN broadcasts 24 hours daily in English with the latest news, music, and sports events (AM 810).

Japanese radio stations present a variety of classical and popular music on both AM and FM. Japanese FM radios operate on a lower frequency spectrum of 76 MHz to 90 MHz rather than the U.S. frequencies of 88 MHz to 108 MHz. It is impossible to convert a U.S. receiver for Japanese frequencies; so if you wish to receive most Japanese stations, you will need to buy a domestic receiver.

The compound TV cable system currently offers nine channels of audio programming that can be received on the U.S. FM band. Included in the nine is the most popular English-language Japanese station.

TV in Japan has reached the highest levels of technical sophistication. TV is broadcast in stereo, bilingual multiplex, high-definition, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS). Of the many channels available, two government non-commercial channels (NHK) broadcast high-quality programs that include public service, sports, and music events. The program content of the commercial networks varies little from channel to channel with a large emphasis on entertainment, musicals, and quiz programs. They do broadcast in stereo.

Movies and U.S. TV series are often transmitted with a unique bilingual soundtrack. Several hours of bilingual programming, including live news broadcasts are transmitted daily.

The Embassy compound TV cable system is US NTSC and includes Japanese channels as well as many popular English-language movie, sports, and news channels. In addition to four video and eight audio channels from the AFRTS satellite feed, the system also shows CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, and programming from various other sources. The TV frequencies on the compound have been adjusted to permit a standard American TV to receive all available Japanese and foreign-language channels.

Off-compound residents will have access to satellite TV companies, including "Direct TV" and "Perfect TV" as well as the Japanese broadcast stations. Off-compound residents who expect to use the TV as a source of entertainment may have to consider the purchase of a domestic TV and/or VCR to meet minimum needs.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Five English-language daily newspapers are published in Tokyo—the Japan Times, the Daily Yomiuri, the Mainichi Daily News, the Asahi Evening News, and the U.S. Army’s Stars and Stripes. Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan’s major financial daily, has a weekly English-language edition. Home delivery is available for all of these newspapers. The Asian Wall Street Journal, published in Hong Kong, is also available daily.

American magazines arrive from a few days to a month after publication. The most popular periodicals are available in Stars and Stripes bookstores, military exchanges, major hotels, or by subscription. Asian editions of Newsweek and Time are published in Tokyo and are promptly available by subscription or at major newsstands.

American Embassy personnel and their dependents may borrow books from the Embassy library in the Embassy apartment compound, U.S. military base libraries, and the American Center. The Center also has excellent periodical and reference collections. Large Japanese bookstores and bookstores in major hotels carry a wide selection of English-language books. Books also can be purchased at the Sanno Hotel, Stars and Stripes, and at military base exchanges.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Tokyo. The Health Unit is located in the Chancery and is staffed by a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, administrative assistant and regional psychiatrist. The psychiatrist and nurse practitioner have regional responsibilities and are absent from post on occasion. Primary care outpatient services are available for employees and eligible family members covered under the Department of State Medical Program.

Medical administrative support for all the Consulates and Consulates General is provided through this office. The regional medical officer is posted to Manila and makes periodic visits to Tokyo and the Consulates and Consulates General in Japan.

Primary care services include, but are not limited to, confidential consultation (diagnosis and treatment), immunizations, urgent/minor emergencies, health promotion, and related health services. There are no laboratory or radiology facilities in the Health Unit.

The Health Unit staff can assist in making referrals to U.S. military facilities and medical facilities in the Tokyo area. For Tokyo residents, the minimum of a 3–4 hour round-trip commute is required to get to a U.S. military facility in the area, namely U.S. Air force Hospital at Yokota, U.S. Naval Regional Medical Center at Yokosuka, U.S. Naval Regional Medical Center at Yokohama, and the U.S. Army Health Clinic at Camp Zama. The U.S. military facility, in the Fukuoka area is the U.S. Naval Regional Medical Center at Sasebo. The U.S. Naval Regional Medical Center on Okinawa is available to personnel in Naha. All outpatient medical expenses are the responsibility of the employee. Payment is expected at the time service is given.

Obtain appropriate medical/hospitalization insurance prior to your arrival. The Office of Medical Services acts only as a secondary insurance payer. Direct questions concerning eligibility for coverage under the Department of State Medical Program to the Office of Medical Services, Department of State (202) 663-1662.

Many English-speaking Japanese physicians, with U.S. post-graduate training, as well as Western doctors, maintain private practices in Tokyo. An up-to-date listing is available from the Health Unit. Local hospitals and clinics range from older facilities to very modern medical centers. Language continues to be a frustrating barrier in many facilities.

Completing the following "to do" list will make your transition to Japan easier:

Make sure you and eligible family members have a current medical clearance. Upon arrival in Tokyo, make an appointment for a Health Unit briefing. Handcarry your medical records to post and bring a copy of your current medical clearance to the briefing. Handcarry all pertinent medical reports and evaluations especially for children with learning disabilities. There are few resources for children with special learning needs. Start the ad-mission process to schools early. Update your immunizations before arriving at post. The Health Unit stocks a limited supply of prescription medications for acute illness. Bring an adequate supply of over-the-counter medications and long-term prescription medications. Do not pack prescription medications in your check-in luggage. Handcarry your prescription medications. The Health Unit stocks fluoride supplements for children. Check with the Health Unit regarding appropriate dosages. Individuals enrolled in a preferred provider organization (PPO) or health maintenance organization (HMO) will find it difficult to use this coverage overseas. Individuals that are members of a PPO or HMO should consider changing insurance policies before arriving to Tokyo. Bring a hot-steam humidifier(s) for dry winter weather. Bring a dehumidifier(s) for the hot and humid summer weather. Bring flashlights and emergency first-aid kit(s) for your home and car. Enroll in a first aid and CPR course before arriving to post. Visit your dentist for cleaning and dental check-up before arriving to Tokyo. Dental care in Tokyo is expensive. Okinawa. The U.S. Navy Regional Medical Center at Camp Lester is a modern five-story, 500-bed facility. The hospital provides general medicine and specialty clinics to authorized personnel and their eligible family members. Except for children’s illnesses and emergency care, it can be difficult to obtain appointments for routine outpatient care. Dental care is available on a space-available basis.

The Adventist Medical Center provides an alternative for dental and medical care at Camp Lester. It is a modern, well-run facility staffed by American or American-trained missionary physicians and dentists from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Full payment in yen at the time of service is expected.

Osaka-Kobe. There are excellent medical resources in Osaka-Kobe. Hospitals providing OB/GYN and pediatric services are located 30 minutes from the housing compound. Physical exams can be done at Kobe Kaisei Hospital. Serious medical problems are referred to appropriate medical specialists.

Yokosuka Naval Hospital, the nearest DOD facility with sophisticated medical capabilities, is 4 hours away by train or taxi. Inexpensive overnight housing may be available at the base.

Sapporo. English-speaking, U.S.-trained doctors and dentists are available to Consulate General personnel. Sapporo has two university hospitals for emergency and routine care.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

General health conditions in Japan are similar to those in the U.S. The city water supply, in all major cities, is potable. Sewage and garbage disposal facilities are adequate. The country has no special pest or vermin problems.

Air pollution has been a problem in Tokyo over the years, but an active anti-pollution program has reduced the problem significantly. Nevertheless, the summer heat and humidity will exacerbate respiratory ailments such as asthma.

In recent years, tuberculosis (TB) has been on a sharp increase in Japan. Employees and eligible family members are encouraged to have annual TB skin testing (PPD).

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Endemic diseases are not prevalent and no particular preventive measures need be taken beyond updating routine immunizations. The water is not fluoridated. The Health Unit stocks fluoride supplements for children posted in Tokyo and the Consulates and Consulates General.

No immunizations are required to enter Japan.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 7/13/2004 1:38 AM

Several Eligible Family Member (EFM) appointments are available. Spouses and dependents are employed in positions in the Community Liaison Office (CLO) as well as other sections and agencies. Other employment opportunities include temporary secretarial or clerical assistance when needed to cover staff assignment gaps, home leave or periods of long illness. Amid the activities sponsored by EWA (Employee Welfare Association), a variety of part-time jobs may also be available.

Embassy spouses have in the past worked in a wide range of occupations locally, depending upon their expertise and educational background. The CLO periodically receives information from various business and private sector sources about careers and employment in Japan. Family members with special qualifications may wish to contact the CLO for assistance in finding employment. English-language editing and/or teaching are the most frequently available positions on the local economy.

Please note that only spouses of Embassy employees with diplomatic or official status are permitted to work on the local economy without having to obtain a working visa. They must, however, obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Justice through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before accepting any employment that does not conflict with their diplomatic or official status. An exception to this might be if a spouse is currently employed outside of Japan and intends to continue work with the same company in Japan. In these cases, you are advised to contact the post with particulars.

In addition, spouses must, before accepting employment, obtain from their prospective employers, a written statement or contract that describes the position, the period of employment, number of working hours per week, the proposed salary, a resume (curriculum vitae), and a statement indicating the reasons for wishing to accept a particular job. Upon receiving these documents, once approved by the M/C for Management Affairs, the Embassy Human Resources Office will initiate the process to assist spouses in obtaining a work permit. Please note that the Ministry of Justice through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handles employment requests on a case-by-case basis. An official response, (approval or disapproval) requires 4–6 weeks.

Note: During the actual working hours that spouses are employed as stipulated by the work permit, they relinquish their immunity from judicial process in matters relating to their employment. Working spouses are subject to payment of Japanese taxes derived from their employment.

Summer employment opportunities may also be available for teens at lease 16 yrs of age and college students 18 to 22 yrs of age returning to Japan for vacation under the auspices of the Embassy. For more info on the summer hire program, contact Post CLO.

The Employee Welfare Association (EWA) has also offered some part-time and full-time jobs for Embassy dependents during the summer. These jobs include day-care providers and summer camp counselors.

American Embassy - Tokyo

Post City Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:42 PM

Tokyo is at the head of Tokyo Bay on the Kanto Plain, the largest level area in Japan. The city proper covers 221 square miles; the 796-sq.mi. metropolitan area occupies sea level stretches along the bay and rivers, as well as hilly areas further inland, which include several suburban towns and cities. The metropolitan area population is now over 14 million.

Tokyo developed originally around a feudal castle built during the 16th century. Toward the end of that century, a great feudal lord named Tokugawa Iyeyasu ruled this castle and the surrounding area. In 1603, after a series of civil wars, he set himself up as a military dictator of all Japan and administered his rule from Edo, which later was called Tokyo. Under succeeding Tokugawa rulers, the city grew in importance and became the area’s leading commercial center.

Tokyo has been, for all practical purposes, the capital of Japan since 1603, although the imperial court in the ancient capital of Kyoto maintained nominal authority until 1868. The court moved to Tokyo and a Western-style government was established in the 1860s.

Tokyo is also the financial, commercial, industrial, communications, and educational center of Japan. It has over 7,900 factories or plants with 30 or more employees, 102 4-year colleges and universities, and 28 daily newspapers. Tokyo is Japan’s most international city with more than 122,500 foreign residents, including more than 14,000 Americans. Most foreign companies doing business in Japan have their headquarters here.

Tokyo is a vital city of striking contrasts of confusion and calm. Business and residential properties are side by side, giving a patchwork quilt impression. It has lovely parks and shrines, broad thoroughfares, modern office buildings and hotels, expressways, and department stores like those in other large cities. But beyond these lies another world of narrow streets, markets, theaters, restaurants, and Japanese-style houses that make Tokyo a unique city.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/13/2004 1:50 AM

The U.S. Mission in Japan, under the direction of the Ambassador, consists of the Embassy, USAID, FAS, FCS, and about 23 other U.S. Government agencies in Tokyo; Consulates General in Naha, Okinawa; Osaka-Kobe; and Sapporo; Consulates in Fukuoka and Nagoya; FSI Yokohama and PAS centers in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka. Headquarters of U.S. Forces Japan is at nearby Yokota Air Base and various commands are located throughout the mainland and on Okinawa. The Ambassador is responsible for assuring that all U.S. programs and activities are coordinated to achieve U.S. policy objectives.

The 12-story Chancery, on the same site used by chanceries since the late 1800s, was completed and occupied in 1976. This modern office building houses all elements of the Mission except the following, which are separately located in areas of the city where they are more accessible to clientele they serve: the U.S. Trade Center, the American Center, and the Agricultural Trade Office.

Newly assigned personnel travel to Japan by air. New arrivals are met at the airport if the Embassy receives firm flight information and if the arrival date is on a regularly scheduled work day during normal operating hours. Note that you will cross the international date line en route to Tokyo. Notify the Embassy Management or Human Resources Office or the office of your agency as soon as your travel plans are firm. If hotel reservations are necessary, arrangements can be made. If for some reason you are not met, take the airport bus to the downtown Tokyo City Air Terminal. Then call the Embassy’s transportation secretary, 3224-5764 during working hours (or the Marine Guard, 3224-5605) after hours. Office hours are from Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

On the first work day after your arrival, report to the Embassy Human Resources Office to initiate check-in procedures. You will need Embassy identification cards for access to the Embassy, commissary, and military facilities. Bring your passports and photos with you to expedite the administrative processing. You need four 2" x 2" photos for identification cards issued by the Foreign Office and one 1" x 1-l/2" photo for a driver’s license.

Since it takes a minimum of 1 week to obtain a Japanese driver’s license after all forms are completed and photos received, bring an international drivers license if you plan on driving an official vehicle within the first few weeks after arrival. Vehicle registration takes approximately 2 weeks.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:43 PM

Employees of State, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agriculture Service, and the Defense Attaché Office are assigned government-owned quarters and every effort is made for them to move directly into their assigned unit upon arrival. Some will be required to move into a temporary apartment at the Mitsui Housing Compound while their permanent quarters are made ready. Employees of other agencies generally live in leased apartments on the economy and may stay in temporary quarters for 2 months or longer. Their temporary quarters may be on the Mitsui Housing Compound (if space is available) or in a hotel.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:44 PM

The U.S. Government-owned Ambassador’s residence adjacent to the Chancery is a historic and stately building with attractive gardens and a swimming pool. Large representational reception and dining areas are on the ground floor, and the Ambassador’s private quarters and ample guest suites are on the second floor. The DCM’s home, located about one kilometer from the Chancery, is large, with ample reception and dining areas, patio and garden to accommodate the representational needs of the Deputy Chief of Mission.

The Mitsui Housing Compound, located on a landscaped 11-acre hill within a 15-minute walk from the Chancery, comprises 171 apartment and townhouse units in five separate buildings. These U.S. Government-owned units are: Perry Tower (47 apartments), Harris Tower (42 apartments), Grew Tower (42 apartments), Mitsui Townhouses (14 units), and Temple Townhouses (28 units). The grounds include a large-covered swimming pool that is open year round, a multipurpose building (gymnasium and exercise/weight room), tennis courts, children’s playground, gardens and ponds between the tower buildings, a recreation hall (housing a racquetball court, a martial arts practice room, a youth game room, and a large multipurpose room with a fully equipped kitchen) and parking for residents and a limited number of guests in a covered garage. Housing for the Embassy Marine Security Guards, an outdoor basketball court, and a domestics’ dormitory building are also on the compound.

All personnel of State, FCS and the Defense Attach‚ Office are assigned housing on the compound. Employees of other agencies may be offered housing depending upon availability; typically they live on the economy in government-leased quarters.

Post has an active Inter-Agency Housing Board, with representatives of both foreign affairs and non-foreign affairs agencies as members. The Government-Owned (GO), Government-Leased (STL), and privately leased (LQA) housing programs are administered in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Foreign Affairs Manual (6 FAM 700).

Embassy housing on the Mitsui Compound includes both apartments and townhouses, ranging from one-bedroom to four-bedroom units. It must be emphasized that housing assignments are determined by availability, family size, and position/rank.

Storage facilities are extremely limited. Official storage space is also extremely limited and the General Services Office does not remove government furnishings from apartments in order to make space for personal effects. New personnel should avoid shipping any major items of furniture. Even those bringing well under the authorized 7,200 lbs. may find that they cannot fit all of their belongings in their apartment. Especially single employees assigned to positions at grades FS-5 or GS-9 and below and couples with no children may be assigned to quarters considerably smaller than those they have lived in at other posts. All employees are encouraged to check with their sponsor, the General Services Office, or the Community Liaison Office with questions concerning the size of their apartment before shipping their household effects.

The three towers—Perry, Harris, and Grew—are 14 stories tall, each containing 42–47 furnished, centrally heated and air-conditioned apartments. The vast majority of units are two-level, with internal stairs linking separate living-dining and sleeping areas. The towers have 23 one-bedroom units with about 1,000 square feet gross floor space. These units are generally assigned to single personnel working in positions at grades FS-5 or GS-9 and below. The one-bedroom units are comparable to small one-bedroom apartments in the Washington, D.C. area. The 57 two-bedroom units have 950 to 1,250 square feet gross. They are assigned to couples and single personnel at the higher grades. The 22 three-bedroom units in the towers are 2,000 to 2,250 square feet. Ranging in size from 3,000 to 4,700 square feet, the 27 four-bedroom units in the towers include penthouse apartments for heads of the foreign affairs agencies.

Perry Tower (47 apartments) has 7 four-bedroom units with floor space ranging from 3,082 to 4,782 sq. ft. gross (286 to 444 sq. meters); 8 three-bedroom units of 2,009 to 2,251 sq. ft. (187 to 209 sq. meters); 19 two-bedroom units of 1,388 to 1,702 sq. ft. (129 to 158 sq. meters); and 13 one-bedroom units of 956 to 1,256 sq. ft. (88 to 117 sq. meters). All units are centrally heated/air-conditioned.

Harris Tower and Grew Tower (42 apartments each) each have 10 four-bedroom units, 7 three-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and 6 one-bedroom units with floor spaces similar to those in Perry Tower. All units are centrally heated and air-conditioned. On the ninth floor of each tower building is a common terrace for entertainment purposes.

Mitsui Townhouses (four story, 14 units) have seven four-bedroom units with an average floor space of 2,600 sq. ft. and seven three-bedroom units of 2,400 sq. ft. There is a car port and a small rock garden on the ground level of these units. Each unit is individually heated/air-conditioned and hot water is supplied from a hot water heater/storage tank in the machine room of each unit.

Temple Townhouses (three story, 28 units) has 14 four-bedroom units with floor space of 2,800 sq. ft. a patio on the ground level, and a large attic on the top floor; 14 three-bedroom units of 2,150 sq. ft. each with a 450 sq. ft. patio. All units are centrally heated/air-conditioned. Parking is one floor below for all Temple Townhouse dwellers.

All housing units on the compound are equipped with at least one electric oven/range, dishwasher, and refrigerator in the kitchen and an electric clothes washer and dryer in the laundry room. A small storage cage, located on the basement level of the three tower buildings, is allocated for each unit with the exception of the four bedroom units in the three towers, the four-bedroom units in Temple Townhouses, and all Mitsui Townhouse units.

Each of the towers is connected to the parking area under Temple Townhouses by an underground tunnel. The compound control center is staffed by contractors 24 hours daily with an English-speaking attendant to handle emergency calls. During work hours, Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings, a buildings operations contractor manager is on duty. The Embassy provides groundskeeping and custodial services in the compound’s public areas.

Mitsui Compound residents who are housed in units that contain domestic employee quarters must house their domestic employees in these quarters. Those living on the compound without domestic employee quarters in their apartments may apply for space for their domestic employee in the dormitory on the compound.

Personnel who are not assigned to State, Foreign Agricultural Service, Foreign Commercial Service, and DAO should check with their parent agencies to determine whether housing will be leased by the agency or by the individual employee and what furniture or furnishings will be provided.

Housing available for rent is generally smaller in scale than that found in the U.S. Both apartments and houses normally have central heating and apartments in most cases also have central air-conditioning. Apartments leased for Embassy personnel normally have adequate Western-style major appliances.


Furnishings Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:45 PM

The Ambassador’s residence and DCM’s home are fully furnished with basic furniture; lamps, draperies, carpets or area rugs are provided. Each house has complete kitchen and laundry facilities. These residences are also provided representational china, crystal, silverware and table, bed, and bath linens.

The Mitsui Compound housing units have basic living, dining, and bedroom furniture. A typical apartment will be furnished with a sofa, love seat, occasional chairs, coffee and end tables, lamps, dining room table and chairs, buffet, and queen-sized bed in the master bedroom and twin beds in the other bedrooms. A microwave oven and vacuum cleaner is also provided for each unit. Small electrical appliances, dishes, silverware, kitchen utensils, and the like are not provided.

Do not ship major furniture items or major appliances since the post has very limited storage facilities. No undue influences of climate normally affect furnishings you may wish to bring. However, extreme dryness in winter and high humidity in summer make humidifiers and dehumidifiers useful items for personal comfort.

U.S. Government-leased or Privately leased Quarters. Most rental housing is unfurnished or only partially furnished. If you must ship your own furniture, keep in mind the somewhat smaller scale of local construction, which may preclude the use of large overstuffed furniture or outsize cupboards or chests. Climatic factors do not normally preclude shipment of any particular type of furniture of furnishings. However, for personal comfort a humidifier and dehumidifier are suggested. If you plan to purchase any major appliances, basic furniture pieces, or general household furnishings for use here, the military exchanges in the area generally carry a stock of these items. Prices on the local market are higher than U.S. prices, but those at the exchanges are comparable. The exchanges also carry a limited range of U.S. brand small appliances (toasters, mixers, fans, vacuum cleaners, irons), china, glassware, cutlery, kitchenware, and lamps as well as refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, stoves, and dishwashers.

Telephone service is readily available throughout the city. American touch-tone phones will work on the Japanese system.

Ship your airfreight at least 10 work days before you leave to assure that it will be here when you arrive. Pack items you will need until your household affects (HHE) arrive. The Embassy lends Welcome Kits to new arrivals assigned to the Mitsui Housing Compound. Kits contain basic dishes, flatware, kitchen utensils, linens, and blankets. A limited number of infant cribs are also available. Infant food sterilizers, cribs, and high chairs may be shipped under existing regulations in airfreight or unaccompanied baggage (UAB) as part of the overall airfreight weight allowance. Layette items are available at the military bases.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:45 PM

Electricity in Tokyo is single phase 100 or 200 volts, 50 cycles (HZ) electric current. All homes on the Mitsui compound are supplied with 117 volt, 50-cycle electric current, and the wall receptacles (electric outlets) are U.S. standard and will accept two blade electric plugs and two blade with ground prong plugs (NEMA spec. 5-15). Most U.S.-manufactured appliances will operate satisfactorily as long as they will tolerate 50-cycle electric current. Electric timing devices and clocks that are designed for standard U.S. 60-cycle electric current may not operate properly on 50-cycle electricity. Most appliances manufactured for Tokyo use require 100 volt, 50-cycle electric current and some require a stepdown transformer if operated in Mitsui compound residences.

Food Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:41 PM

Most food items available in the U.S. can be obtained in Tokyo, either through the Employee’s Welfare Association (EWA), military commissaries, or on the local market at higher prices.

The EWA convenience store, located on the Embassy housing compound, carries a variety of grocery items, dairy products, frozen foods, frozen meats, household and cleaning supplies, toiletries, some stationery items, soft drinks, beer, and alcoholic beverages. Commissaries at the nearby military bases are comparable to U.S. supermarkets. The small commissary at Hardy Barracks resembling a 7-11 store is approximately 10 minutes away from the Housing Compound by car and carries a limited stock of basic grocery items. The New Sanno Hotel also has a small shoppette. Throughout the city one can conveniently locate greengrocers, convenience-type stores, and large modern supermarkets.

All personnel assigned to the Mission are accorded access to military facilities that include, in addition to the outlets mentioned above, commissaries and exchanges at Yokohama, Yokota, Atsugi, Zama, Sagamihara, and Yokosuka in the Tokyo area. Access to the EWA convenience store and other EWA-operated facilities is granted to all EWA members. The annual membership dues in 2005 are $40 for a single, $80 for a family of two or single parent, and $120 for a family of three or more.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

General. Bring a four-season wardrobe for all family members. Winter clothing is advised for the cold and damp winter months. Summer in Tokyo can be very hot and humid. Raincoats and umbrellas are essential.

Local department and specialty stores carry a variety of Western-style clothes and imported items from the design centers of the world for both men and women but are generally available in sizes unique to the Japanese physique and are very expensive. Excellent quality silks, woolens, and various synthetics are available.

Shoes for men, women and children are available locally but it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to find the proper size. Shoe sizes are shorter and wider than in the U.S.

Although the military exchanges carry clothing and shoes for men, women, and children, the supply and variety are limited, and quality runs from average to poor. This is a good source for fill-in items but not recommended as the main supply source. Catalog and internet shopping are essential for most families.

If you need special sizes or particular brands in clothing and shoes in order to be properly fitted, bring them with you. Office dress as well as sports and casual attire follow Washington or U.S. standards. Social functions are not extremely dressy. Simple good taste is the best criterion.


Men Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The accepted attire for dinner parties, unless otherwise stated, is a business suit. Black tie is the usual formal attire. Senior officers may occasionally need a morning coat and striped trousers. These items, top hats and other accessories can be rented locally.


Women Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

An afternoon dress, a simple long dress, or long skirt and top are suitable for the frequent cocktail parties, receptions, and buffet dinners. Formal attire is a floor-length dress. Bring at least one full skirt (either long or short) that would be appropriate for dining in Japanese restaurants or homes where guests sit on tatami mats on the floor.


Children Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

A variety of children’s clothing is available; sizes are not a big problem but prices are high.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The following items are available through the military exchanges at comparable or lower than U.S. prices as well as on the local market but at higher prices: toiletries for men and women, cosmetics, feminine personal supplies, tobacco items, home medicines and drugs; common household items, including minor repair materials; and entertainment supplies such as candles, napkins, invitations, tablecloths, centerpieces, decorations, and cards for all occasions. The EWA commissary also carries some of the above items.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

All basic services—laundry, drycleaning, barber and beauty shops, shoe, and automobile repair—are available both at the military facilities and on the local market. Barber facilities are in the Chancery. A beauty shop and drycleaning facilities are located on the housing compound.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The number and type of domestics varies with the obligations and living pattern of the employee. Some employees utilize full-time live-in domestics, while others (particularly those without child care needs) find that a part-time maid 1 or 2 days a week is sufficient in Tokyo’s compact and well-equipped apartments. Most English-speaking domestics who work on the housing compound do so on a part-time basis for several persons each week. The hourly rate for part-time domestics is approximately Ą1,000. Salaries for full-time domestics vary but generally you can expect to pay $1,000-$1,500 per month.

There is a dormitory for domestics on the Mitsui Housing Compound that is available on a space-available basis for domestics sponsored by employees living on the compound. To qualify for the dormitory, employees who will be sponsoring domestic employees must employ them for 24 hours or more per week and the domestic must work at least 40 hours per week for Embassy employees or affiliated organizations.

Domestics are covered by Japanese national health insurance but are not covered by unemployment insurance. Many employers assume partial obligation for doctors’ bills and for the placement of a domestic in another position when they leave Japan. Those who sponsor non-Japanese domestics are responsible for assuring their departure from Japan if not placed with a qualified sponsor.

Teenage dependents of Embassy employees and part-time maids are available as babysitters when those services are needed on compound for an hourly rate of Ą1,000. Off compound, the cost could be more. Teenagers charge from Ą500 per hour depending on age and experience while part-time maids charge Ą1,000 per hour.

Employees planning to bring domestic help to post must consult with the General Services Office prior to making transportation arrangements, and with the Human Resources Office regarding visa requirements for non-Japanese domestics.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the authority to issue visas for the third-country nationals. Visas must be obtained outside Japan. The length of the procedures and the restrictions differ case by case. The Ministry of Justice permits the status of residence. The category of their status is the same as their given category of visas.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

English-language services are available in the Tokyo and Yokohama areas for members of most denominations.

Religions represented include Roman Catholic, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, Episcopal, Mormon, Christian Scientist, Lutheran, Interdenominational, Jewish, and Interdenominational Charismatic. The churches offer a variety of fellowship for all age groups and combined programs to provide services for the benefit of the foreign community in the area.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Tokyo has a wide selection of excellent schools that provide education comparable to that available in the best schools in the U.S. and elsewhere. The school styles range from open classroom to more structured approaches; sports, music, drama, and other outside activities are provided in varying degrees. Graduates from the schools in the area have no difficulty being accepted by the best U.S. colleges and universities. To accommodate the requirements of children with special needs, parents should be certain to communicate directly with the schools regarding individual educational needs and programs available. The school year is from September to June. It is essential to communicate with the schools as early as possible since competition for spaces is keen. Most schools begin accepting applications for the upcoming school year in November of the current year. Most of the private schools maintain waiting lists. Upon acceptance, many schools require an early commitment on the part of the family and may require a non-refundable deposit. Prior to making any commitment, it is important for families to ensure that they are fully aware of their financial responsibilities and obligations by checking with the school and post. The schools in the Tokyo area most frequently used by Embassy personnel are listed below. Each is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Tuition and other fees, books, and transportation are reimbursable up to the current educational allowance for the post. The cost of expensive uniforms, which are required by many of the schools, is not reimbursable.

A physical examination is required by most of the schools. Keep a copy of the results of the physical examination conducted in connection with your transfer to Japan as this usually will suffice.

The American School in Japan (ASIJ) (1-1, Nomizu 1-chome, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-0031, tel: O422-34-5300, fax: O422-34-5308; web address:; e-mail: is an independent elementary and secondary school accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is an overseas member of the National Association of Independent Schools of the United States and is affiliated with the International Schools Service. Of the 1,400 students, 67% are American, 15% are Japanese and the rest third-country nationals. The curriculum is similar to that of the best U.S. college preparatory schools. In addition, Japanese language and area studies are offered in all grades.

The facilities include an indoor swimming pool, two gymnasiums, theater, laboratories, libraries, and cafeteria. The emphasis is on individualized instruction through the modular schedule in the secondary schools and through employment of team teaching as a means of greater flexibility in the elementary school. The number of graduates who enter colleges is about 98%.

The school is at Chofu in Tokyo’s western suburbs. The school provides bus service from all areas of Tokyo including a stop at the apartment compound, with commuting time running slightly under an hour each way. Train service to within 10 minutes walking distance from the school is also available.

The American School in Japan Nursery-Kindergarten (3-5 age group) (15-5, Aobadai 2-chome, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042; e-mail: In addition to the kindergarten on the Chofu campus, ASIJ operates a nursery kindergarten Meguro that is about 20 minutes from the housing compound. It accommodates 115 students of several nationalities. The normal school day includes teacher-directed work and activities (music, library, films), rest periods, snack, and outdoor play.

International School of the Sacred Heart (3-1, Hiroo 4-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012; fax: (3) 3400-3496; tel: (3) 3400-3951; web address:; e-mail: is an elementary and secondary institution with a student body of about 588 students directed by the Catholic Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, it is a school for girls; however, boys are accepted for kindergarten. Around 50 different nationalities are represented in the student body and about 40–50 graduates are admitted to U.S. and Japanese colleges and universities each year. The school plant includes laboratories, gymnasium, and library; sports facilities also are provided. The school is on the Sacred Heart University campus in central Tokyo.

Nishimachi International School (14-7, Moto Azabu 2-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0046; tel: (3) 3451-5520; fax: (3) 3456-0197; web address:; e-mail: offers instruction from kindergarten through grade 9. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Enrollment is about 400 with an international student body. The curriculum allows easy progression into the international high schools in the Tokyo area. Centrally located in Tokyo, the school has a gym (but no field), a large library, plus a strong Japanese language and active cultural activities programs. It generally requires early application for admission since there is usually a waiting list, particularly in the lower grades.

Seisen International School for Girls (12-15, Yoga l-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0097; fax: (3) 3701-1033; tel: (3) 3704-2661; web address:; e-mail: is a girls’ elementary and secondary school accredited by the Western Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges and operated by the Catholic order, the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Boys are accepted for kindergarten. Enrollment is around 645, representing 60 nationalities. The emphasis in the secondary school is college preparatory with an extracurricular program of arts, drama, journalism, music, and sports. Some 94% of graduates enter college. The school is in Tokyo, convenient to public buses, subways, and trains.

St. Mary’s International School (6-19, Seta l-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8668; fax: (3) 3707-1950; tel: (3) 3709-3411; web address:; e-mail: is sponsored by the Catholic order, Brothers of Christian Instruction. It is an elementary and secondary boy’s school accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges with an enrollment of 900, representing some 70 nationalities. The school has a preschool (5 years), but there is a waiting list. The secondary school curriculum is college preparatory, and participation in sports and extracurricular activities including music, arts, drama, and journalism is emphasized. The international Baccalaureate program is offered in the high school. The facilities include a gymnasium, indoor pool, laboratories, library, and cafeteria. Almost all graduates enter American colleges. Bus service is provided by the school. In addition, train, subway, and public bus service to the school is excellent.

Tokyo International Learning Community (6-3-50 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0015, Tel: 0422-31-9611; fax: 0422-31-9648; web address:; e-mail: Established in 1987, Tokyo International Learning Community was set up by concerned parents and professionals in Tokyo’s English-speaking community to support the education of students with special needs.

Its staff now consists of four full-time teachers and over 10 other staff members, including an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a speech pathologist, and a psychologist. Based in a seven-room school building in Mitaka, Tokyo International Learning Community has an Early Childhood program for children from newborn to 5 years old with developmental disabilities or difficulties, and their families, as well as an Upper School Program for elementary, middle- and high-school students.

There is a support group for parents of children with special needs. A program for students enrolled in other international schools who are diagnosed as having a learning disability is also available. Services are offered in central Tokyo as well as the Mitaka campus.

The Employee Welfare Association (EWA) operates a preschool program on the Embassy housing compound. Classes are organized by age for children who are 2-, 3- and 4-years old by September 30.

Parents of prospective preschool children are requested to notify Children’s Services by July 15. Please notify The Director, EWA Children’s Services, Unit 45004, Box 238, APO AP 96337-5004; e-mail:

The EWA also offers an afternoon playgroup.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Exceptional opportunities exist in Tokyo for higher education and for training in Japanese arts and crafts. Each institution has its own admission requirements; courses can be followed as part of a degree program or for enrichment.

Sophia University, a Jesuit institution, has an international division that offers accredited courses in English and comparative cultures, leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Both part-time and full-time study is possible, and all courses are in late afternoon or evening.

Temple University Japan, established in the early 1980s, is a branch of Temple University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1987, the school moved into a new building in Shinjuku, which include such facilities as classrooms, a library, a language laboratory, and an auditorium. Temple offers bachelors degrees in the liberal arts and masters degrees in teaching English-as-a-second- language and business administration. Classes take place days and evenings.

International Christian University is about 20 miles from the center of Tokyo. It is an interdenominational school offering courses in English in all of its divisions-humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and languages. The Bachelor of Arts degree requires competency in Japanese, which can be acquired at the university by taking an intensive program. Night courses are not offered.

The University of Maryland, in cooperation with the Armed Forces, offers night courses at the undergraduate and some graduate levels. Although these courses are offered primarily to military personnel, Embassy staff members also are eligible. Courses currently are given at Camp Zama and Yokota Air Force Base. The commuting distance is from 1 to 1-1/2 hours from Tokyo by train.

Many opportunities exist for participation in adult classes in painting, sumie painting, ikebana (flower arrangement), woodcarving, doll making, pottery, and other Japanese crafts. Lessons in Japanese and Chinese cooking, music, and dancing can also be taken.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Japanese are sports lovers and participate in virtually every sport popular in the West in addition to their own. The foreigner is welcomed, either as an active participant or as a spectator, and sports are effective avenues for establishing social and informal contacts with the Japanese people.

The most popular spectator sport of Western origin in Japan is baseball; the Tokyo pro teams play to sellout crowds nearly every day in season, and the annual Japan World Series championship team often gives visiting American teams stiff competition. Ranking in spectator popularity is the traditional Japanese wrestling or sumo. Fans include foreigners and Japanese alike, and tickets to the major tournaments held throughout the year are hard to find. Local television broadcasts both baseball and sumo events. Other popular spectator sports include soccer, rugby, gymnastics, swimming and diving competitions, and the Japanese martial arts exhibitions and matches. In addition to judo and karate, the arts include kendo (fencing with bamboo swords), Aikido (self-defense emphasizing physical conditioning and mind over matter), and Japanese longbow archery. You can study any of the martial arts in Tokyo under the most famous instructors. Judo instructions are available to Mission employees on the compound.

Golf is very popular in Japan. The courses are excellent and playable year round. Public courses are relatively few, and membership in the private Japanese clubs is prohibitively expensive. The U.S. military has three 18-hole golf courses at Tama, Zama, and Atsugi, all from 1 to 1-1/2 hours’ drive from downtown Tokyo. Membership is open to all Mission employees and their families, and dues are reasonable. Nonmembers can play by paying a nominal greens fee. The American Embassy Golf Club of Tokyo is open to all American and Japanese employees of the Mission and their dependents. About five tournaments are held each year on Japanese and American holidays at military and Japanese golf courses. Golfers bringing a letter certifying their handicap at a previous golf club will be considered by the handicap committee for an "in-Japan" handicap.

The Embassy has two hard-surface tennis courts (both doubles) on the grounds of the apartment compound. They are lighted for nighttime play. Among the Mission staff and family members is an active group of tennis players. The city has few public tennis and badminton courts. Private clubs have long waiting lists and are expensive. The apartment compound has a racquetball court. Many Japanese recreational centers and clubs feature table tennis.

The major hotels have swimming pools and clubs; memberships are available but costs are relatively high. In the complex of the Olympic sports facilities are two Olympic-sized pools and a high-diving area open to the public. The New Sanno Hotel has an outdoor pool available to Embassy personnel. The apartment compound also has an Olympic-sized pool and a children's wading pool, open year round to all Mission staff and families. The pool has a retractable cover and is heated. Lifeguards are only on duty during the summer months.

Beaches and water in the Tokyo area are polluted. However, nice but crowded beaches are located along the coast south of Tokyo near Kamakura on the Miura Peninsula, on the picturesque Izu Peninsula about 80 miles from Tokyo, and the eastern coast of the Chiba Peninsula about 60 miles from Tokyo. These areas abound in picturesque fishing villages and dramatic scenery.

The Tokyo YMCA has a basketball court, swimming pool, and facilities for volleyball and gymnastics. Also, Tokyo’s Olympic Gymnasium facilities for these sports are open on a limited basis to the public. Bowling is popular in Japan, and Tokyo has many centers. Many Embassy personnel bowl weekly in an Embassy league that has two seasons a year. Several indoor ice skating rinks in the city are open year round and outdoor skating is popular on lakes and rinks outside Tokyo during winter.

The mountain resort areas of Nikko and Hakone have facilities for sailing and water-skiing. Commercial marinas, like Enoshima on Sagami Bay, rent sailboats.

Skiing is excellent in Japan. Many ski areas are to the north and northwest of Tokyo (3–6 hours by train), with areas for beginners and experts. Accommodations range from luxurious lodges to skier dormitories. Equipment can be rented, but large ski boots are difficult to find.

Mountain climbing is also popular; you can join several hiking clubs. Good hiking over mountain trails is within 2 hours by train from Tokyo.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Japan’s rugged and beautiful terrain offers a great deal to outdoor enthusiasts. Most scenic areas, including nearby Nikko and Mt. Fuji, have been incorporated into an extensive national park system. Hiking trails and good camping facilities abound. Hundreds of low-priced hostels exist, many in isolated places. The hostels are open to people of all ages, single or married.

Much of Japan is easily accessible from Tokyo on Japan’s excellent rail transportation system. The historic Kyoto-Nara area, with its hundreds of shrines and their typical Japanese gardens, can be reached by Shinkansen (super express trains) in about 3 hours. Shinkansen to Kyushu, southern Japan, takes about 7 hours. Northern Japan is a day’s journey by train. Domestic airlines will take you to most major cities in Honshu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, and Kyushu or Okinawa within a few hours. Travel by air, rail and car tends to be expensive.

Within hours by car or rail from Tokyo are the many hot-spring mountain resorts of the Hakone Range near Mt. Fuji, beautiful Nikko National Park with its famous shrines of the Tokugawa Shoguns; and northwest of Tokyo, Nagano Prefecture, popular winter sports center. These resort areas offer excellent recreational facilities and fine Western and Japanese-style hotels.

Shimoda, at the tip of the Izu Peninsula (about 3 hours from Tokyo by express train), is of historic interest as the site of the first American Consulate in Japan, opened by Townsend Harris in 1856.

Nearby Tokyo is Kamakura, which is also of great historical interest with its many 12th- and 13th-century shrines and temples and the famed Great Buddha.

Added incentives to travel are the many colorful festivals that take place throughout Japan, especially during the summer. Timing a trip to coincide with a festival or witnessing some of the many festivals held in Tokyo can add greatly to your experience.

In all the major cities and many of the others are Western-style hotels with facilities ranging from acceptable to adequate. A stay in a Japanese-style inn or Ryokan can be most interesting. Ryokans are usually more expensive than first-class Western-style hotels, but the attentive service given guests is almost unequaled anywhere in the world. The guest must be prepared, however, to sleep on tatami mats and eat Japanese food.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Tokyo is one of the entertainment capitals of the world. It offers an infinite variety of nightlife from the most deluxe and expensive clubs and spectacular music hall revues to jazz coffeehouses and working-class restaurants. Restaurants are everywhere. Hardly a street in the city does not have at least one Japanese restaurant specializing in tempura (shrimp, fish, and various vegetables deep fried in oil), sushi (raw fish or shrimp in a small rice mold wrapped in a special kind of seaweed), and sukiyaki, perhaps the best-known Japanese food among foreigners. Many nice restaurants feature international cuisine or regional specialties (Chinese, French, American, Russian, Italian, Korean, or Spanish). Tokyo also has a variety of fast-food chains, both Japanese and such American favorites as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Shakey’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pizza Hut. Recent casual restaurant additions include Outback Steakhouse and TGI Friday’s. Prices in the restaurants range from moderate to extremely expensive. One of the best ways to sample the restaurants in Tokyo is at lunchtime when a meal costs half as much when served in the evening.

Tokyo is the center of the Kabuki and Noh theaters. Two major theaters in Tokyo present Kabuki, and usually at least two productions are playing at any one time. Several productions of Noh and the classical Japanese comedy, Kyogen, are shown every week. The famous Bunraku Puppet Theater of Osaka visits Tokyo regularly.

Tokyo has nine symphony orchestras that perform year round, several ballet and opera companies, and many chamber groups and individual artists. With these choices, and with the constant stream of visiting foreign orchestras, ballet and opera companies, and individual artists, it has become one of the world’s music centers. However, ticket prices are expensive.

Tokyo Weekender and Tokyo Classified, periodic publications especially for foreign residents or tourists in the city, present useful information on what is happening in music and the theater in Tokyo and describes various events going on throughout Japan. Copies are available at the Embassy, at the compound commissary, and at the New Sanno Hotel.

Tokyo is also the center of Japan’s contemporary art life. Several museums have fine collections of Japanese and Western arts, and innumerable small galleries present showings of Japanese and foreign artists. The major department stores often sponsor art exhibitions. The Tokyo Museum of Modern Art each year has several large foreign exhibitions of international significance.

The Western Theater in Tokyo attracts much interest and activity. Most foreign plays are translated and presented in Japanese. The Tokyo International Players, an international English-language amateur group, produces several plays and readings during their October–May season. American and other foreign movies, shown with Japanese subtitles, are quite popular in Tokyo. They are, however, expensive. The English-language press carries detailed schedules. American movies are shown on Sunday afternoons and evenings at the New Sanno Hotel.

Photography is a popular hobby for both still and video enthusiasts. The Japanese are avid picture takers, and most foreigners follow suit. Excellent Japanese cameras and accessories are sold at the exchanges at reasonable prices. American film is sold locally and at the exchanges, although Japanese film is also of high quality. The military facilities do an excellent job of developing and printing for black and white film and color negatives, as do outlets on the local economy.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Outside the Embassy community is the Tokyo American Club. It is a large, long-established club to which many in the business community belong. It has a restaurant and swimming pool. Fees are prohibitive.

The New Sanno Hotel, open to U.S. Government civilian employees, has three restaurants and a snack bar, a cocktail lounge, a swimming pool, and offers dancing, night-club shows, special events, and movies.

Social life for employees is comparable to the social life enjoyed in most large U.S. cities. Acquaintances and friends are developed through contacts in the office, at clubs, churches, and through friends.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Although opportunities are numerous for making Japanese friends in Tokyo, it does require a positive effort in most cases. This is partly explained by the size of the city, the language barrier, and differences in cultural background and personality between Westerners and Japanese. Although the Japanese are not surprised when Westerners remain aloof in the foreign colony, they are delighted when a foreigner makes an effort to learn about their way of life, e.g., by studying their various art forms, by traveling Japanese-style, etc. One good way to make daily contact with the Japanese more meaningful is to learn some of the language and customs. Many official functions provide opportunities to meet Japanese members of the diplomatic corps, and members of the private community in Tokyo. In addition, a great number of organizations and activities bring people together for both business and pleasure, such as the American Chamber of Commerce, the Japan-America Society, the Royal Asiatic Society, the International House, international friendship clubs, and the Japanese alumni associations of many American colleges and universities. Many organizations directed either toward community welfare or cultural exchange provide excellent opportunities to meet both Japanese women and women of other nationalities, i.e., the College Women’s Association of Japan, the Japan-American Women’s Club, the International Ladies Benevolent Society, the International Social Service, and the Tokyo-Washington Women’s Club. The latter club meets several times a year and offers monthly or biweekly meetings of various small interest groups such as golf, bridge, chorus, ink painting, flower arranging, and doll making.

Classes in Japanese arts and crafts are also readily available throughout the city and serve both to broaden your circle of friends and your knowledge of the culture of Japan. These classes are not offered solely for foreigners, since the formal study of various aspects of Japanese culture has traditionally been popular for Japanese as well.

An excellent way to make Japanese friends is to offer classes in English conversation. These classes are not difficult to arrange. Another way to make Japanese friends is to participate in the American Orientation Program sponsored by the Fulbright Commission for Japanese scholarship students going to the U.S. to study.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Chief of Mission and senior officers entertain and are entertained by high-ranking Japanese officials, senior officers of the diplomatic missions, leading members of the business community, and American military officers. Cocktail parties, dinners, and other forms of home entertainment are popular. Large receptions are held on national days and other appropriate occasions by the diplomatic missions. On occasion, these events may be for the employees only with spouses not included.

Middle- and junior-level officers generally follow the same pattern of social life but on a reduced scale.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Appearing at Japanese functions is an important part of representation. Official invitations are accepted whenever possible. Invitations to official functions given by other countries accredited to Japan also are accepted if possible. Contact with people of these countries is also a part of representation.

Japanese at every level of the government and business community commonly exchange business cards at a first meeting. Cards printed in English on one side and Japanese on the other side can be ordered locally.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

FSI Yokohama-Field School. Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city, with a population of 3.3 million, and is part of the Kanto metropolitan area centered on Tokyo. Yokohama was one of the first Japanese ports to open to Western trade, and today is one of the world’s busiest shipping ports, with a cosmopolitan flavor and a large international population. Despite being a large, industrial city, Yokohama retains a pleasant atmosphere and is relatively close to a number of sightseeing and recreation areas, such as the ancient capital of Kamakura, the hot spring resorts at Hakone, and Mount Fuji.

The FSI Field School and student housing are in a suburban area close to downtown Yokohama and the port. Central Tokyo and the Embassy are about 1-1/2 away by car or train. The school’s neighborhood, called Yamate, occupies a ridge overlooking the harbor. It features several parks and historic sites related to the opening of the port to foreign trade and the early foreign community in Yokohama.

Students and their families usually live in the Honmoku area, about 15 minutes from the school on foot. This neighborhood hosts a commercial center with a wide variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment. A 15-minute drive from student housing is the U.S. Navy’s Negishi Housing Area, which has an elementary school, a small PX and commissary, medical and dental clinic, gas station, post office, library, and recreation facilities. Larger bases with more extensive facilities are 1–2 hours away by car.

Yokohama’s climate is essentially the same as Tokyo’s, with hot, humid summers and mild winters.

Japanese Language and Area Training Center. FSI Yokohama is an overseas field school of the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, offering intensive, full-time language instruction to U.S. Government civilian and military officials, their spouses, and in some cases diplomats from third countries. State Department students and their dependents are in diplomatic status while attending the school. FSI Yokohama normally teaches the second year of a 2-year intensive Japanese program designed to bring students to the S3/R3 level or better. However, the school can accommodate students at all levels, from beginner to highly advanced. Enrollment varies from year to year between roughly 10 and 25, and classes are very small—usually two or three students to one instructor.

FSI Yokohama’s excellent teaching staff is small but highly experienced. The faculty has created many texts and reference materials in-house, and continues to innovate in both teaching methods and course content. In recent years, the school has adopted a number of computer-based interactive teaching materials. Instructors can help students in finding opportunities to use Japanese outside the classroom as well, through local sport or hobby groups, travel and language exchanges. The school has a library of language texts and reference works, books in English about Japan, Japanese literature in the original and in translation, and videotapes in Japanese. The Director and the school’s two administrative employees assist students with arrival and departure, shipping, personnel matters, arrangements for utilities and other services, and advice on shopping, transportation, and other questions students may have.

The school’s contact information is as follows:

Address: 152-3 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku Yokohama 231-0862 Japan Phone: 81-45-622-6514 or 6515 Fax: 81-45-622-6516 FPO address: FSI Field School PSC 472 Box 2 FPO AP 96348-1100 U.S. military DSN phone: 242-4826

Students normally have 6 hours of class per day, including time in the language lab. The school day is from 8:40 am to 3:30 pm, but may extend later for special events such as field trips and guest speakers. One afternoon a month is usually set aside as administrative time, allowing students to visit the Embassy if necessary to take care of administrative matters or consult with the offices where they will work after graduation. The school year typically runs from mid- August to late June, but if necessary the school can accommodate off-cycle programs as well.

Taking advantage of its location in country, the school arranges frequent field trips to places of interest to students for their ultimate assignments in Japan. These may include government offices, political party conventions, newspapers and TV stations, Japan Self-Defense Force facilities, factories or museums. The class may take overnight field trips out of town to experience some of the variety of Japanese society, particularly the more traditional culture found in rural areas. Many students also do a week-long practicum, working on a volunteer basis in a Japanese business or institution to gain experience in practical use of the language and in social interaction. A series of guest lectures, in both English and Japanese, offers further insights into Japan’s politics, economy and society. Other, optional events, such as attending a sumo match or traditional Japanese theater, are open to students’ families as well.

State Department spouses who have completed the first year of Japanese training at FSI or who have scored S-2/R-2 in Japanese are eligible to enroll in the full-time program. The employee must make arrangements ahead of time through the Office of Career Development and Assignments.

FSI Yokohama’s pleasant environment, quality of instruction, and many opportunities to explore Japanese society can make a training assignment here a productive and enjoyable experience.

Housing. State Department students live in furnished, government-leased apartments or houses within walking distance of FSI. Students move directly into permanent quarters upon arrival in Japan. The residences are in a nice neighborhood with good sidewalks and plenty of greenery, features not always found in Japan, even in suburbs. The local shopping area is just a few minutes’ walk away. The housing is near several bus lines, but is not within easy walking distance of any train station.

The homes are modern and comfortable, but somewhat small by American standards, and have little storage space. Most have a living/dining room, two or three bedrooms, and a tatami room. Housing in Yokohama is generally smaller than what the housing students will move to in Tokyo or at one of the consulates after graduation. Thus, students may want to consider packing two separate shipments—one to go to Yokohama and one to remain in storage until the student reaches the final post of assignment. The homes are furnished with furniture and major appliances, but the appliances—washer, dryer, refrigerator, oven—are often smaller than American equivalents. Most homes do not have a dishwasher. Most residences include parking space for one car and storage space for bicycles. Electricity in the homes is 100v, 50hz. A few American appliances with electric motors or time-keeping devices may not run at the correct speed, but most are not affected. TV is NTSC, as in the U.S., and most student homes get satellite channels as well. Students should ship their own vacuum cleaners, irons, and ironing boards. Pets are allowed in most of the housing, but repair charges are likely to be high for even minor damage caused by pets. Students should inform the school beforehand if they plan to bring a pet.

The Director lives in a four-bedroom, 3-1/2-bath house attached to the school building. The house and school are on a quiet, tree-lined lot atop a hill. Because of the hill and a lack of sidewalks, the area is not as easy to get around on foot as is the neighborhood where students live. The Director has a parking space for a personally owned vehicle at the school, but there is no garage or enclosed storage for items like bicycles. The house is furnished and has American-size major appliances, including a dishwasher. One of the bedrooms is suitable for use as maid’s quarters, as it has an attached bath and a second entrance via the school building.

Food. Students typically do the bulk of their grocery shopping on U.S. bases, where prices for most items are much lower than on the local economy. Local grocery stores, however, are more convenient to student housing and have a better selection of fresh foods such as produce, meat, fish, and baked goods. Local stores also carry premium imported items such as cheeses and wines, but at high prices.

The Honmoku area offers a number of Japanese- and Western-style restaurants, including several family restaurants. Farther afield, you can find restaurants serving just about any kind of cuisine in and around downtown Yokohama.

FSI does not have a cafeteria, but has a kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave ovens. Most students bring lunch or walk down the hill to a local restaurant.

Clothing. Dress at FSI Yokohama is generally casual, although some special events, such as field trips or guest speakers, will call for business attire. The selection of clothes sold on U.S. bases is limited. Japanese clothing prices vary from near U.S. prices to much higher, depending on the item and outlet, and larger sizes may be hard to find. Most students bring with them the clothing they will need for the year or shop from catalogs.

Supplies and Services. Between local stores and U.S. military PXs, students can usually find most things they need nearby, although it sometimes takes more of a search than in the U.S., and prices may be higher. Yokohama has a growing number of large U.S. specialty retailers (e.g., Toys R Us, Sports Authority) within a 30-minute drive from student housing, although the selection of goods differs somewhat from the same stores in the U.S. Catalog and Internet shopping are also popular.

Services such as drycleaning, hair styling, and photo developing are available on- and off-base. The on-base outlets are often run as concessions by local businesses, so the prices may not be much lower than in more convenient local shops.

Health-care options include the Embassy Health Unit, the U.S. Navy’s medical and dental clinics at Negishi and hospital at Yokosuka, local medical and dental clinics with English-speaking staff near FSI, and larger local hospitals, which may not have English-speaking staff.

Students receive FPO mail at the school and can receive Japanese and international mail at home and at school. Pre-stamped mail of any kind can be sent from the school. A Japanese post office is a few minutes’ walk from student housing, and the FPO at Negishi is convenient for mailing packages to the U.S.

Phone service is good but expensive. Pre-paid phone cards, however, offer calls to the U.S. for as little as 15› per minute. Students can use Embassy IVG to call the U.S., but to do so, first call the Embassy from Yokohama, negating much of the savings. The cheapest option may depend on time of day and destination called (e.g., the tie-line advantage is greatest when calling the Washington, D.C. area). Home e-mail and Internet service is available at a cost, and quality is comparable to that in the U.S. In Japan, however, even local calls are metered, so extended Internet use will result in a high phone bill. Cell phones are available locally at reasonable rates.

Domestic help is very expensive in Japan. Student housing generally does not include rooms convenient to use as maid’s quarters.

Religious Activities. In addition to numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, the neighborhoods around FSI are home to several Catholic and Protestant churches. Most of the churches serve international congregations and offer services in English. Religious services are also offered at Negishi and other U.S. bases.

Education. Children in kindergarten through sixth grade usually attend the R. E. Byrd DODDS Elementary School at the Negishi Housing Area (PSC 472 Box 12, FPO AP 96348-0005). It is a small school, less than 200 students total, in a modern facility on a quiet residential street. School bus service is available from within a few blocks of most of the FSI student housing.

Middle and high school students usually attend St. Maur International School (83 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-8654 Japan, or Yokohama International School (258 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0862 Japan, Both are coeducational day schools, and both are about a 30-minute walk from the student housing area. St. Maur is operated by the Sisters of the Infant Jesus, a Catholic order, and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. YIS is an independent nonsectarian school, and is accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Both the international schools include kindergarten and elementary grades as well. However, the State Department educational allowance for kindergarten through sixth grade for Yokohama is set to cover the cost of the Byrd School, which is considerably lower than either international school. Families electing to send kindergarten or elementary schoolchildren to one of the international schools would have to pay several thousand dollars per year per child above the Department allowance. The allowance for grades 7–12 is higher and covers the cost of either St. Maur or YIS.

There are several pre-kindergarten options, but most are fairly expensive. The Byrd School offers one year of pre-kindergarten, but class size is limited and space might not be available for children of non-DOD families. The two international schools offer pre-school classes, and some FSI families have sent children to local Japanese pre-schools.

The Yokohama area offers a wealth of opportunities for instruction in both traditional Japanese and Western arts, crafts, music, drama, and sports. Many of these classes can be found within walking distance of student housing. Extension programs of U.S. universities are offered on the larger military bases, but long commutes make participation difficult for those living in Yokohama.

Recreation and Social Life. The neighborhood around the student housing offers good routes for walking, jogging, or bicycling. Neighborhood playgrounds are within a block or two of all student housing. Facilities at the Negishi Housing Area, available to USG personnel free or at low cost, include a pool (summer only), tennis courts, weight room, bowling, a basketball court, and instruction in various sports for children and adults. A municipal sports center a few minutes walk from FSI has a weight room, basketball and volleyball courts, and classes for martial arts and other sports, usually for a small per-visit fee. A public park within walking distance of FSI has an outdoor pool open in summer with a reasonable entry fee.

A commercial sports club a few blocks from student housing offers year-round swimming as well as a weight room, aerobics classes and other facilities. Rates are around ť6,000 to ť10,000 per month, depending on the hours and days of use. The Yokohama Country and Athletic Club, near the Negishi housing area, offers more extensive indoor and outdoor sports facilities, but membership fees are high.

The Negishi housing area has a library, and a public library a few blocks from student housing has a large selection of English-language books for children and adults. Yokohama boasts a wide variety of museums, concert halls, theaters, and cinemas. Cinemas are much more expensive than in the U.S., but video rentals are close to American prices. American movies are often available in English with Japanese subtitles.

Yokohama in general and the area around FSI in particular have a large international population, and local Japanese residents tend to be very open to foreigners. Most students and family members, even those who speak little or no Japanese, have few problems making friends. One of the greatest advantages of a year at FSI Yokohama is the chance to interact with Japanese people socially and practice the language in a variety of settings. Students will have number of such opportunities through school events such as field trips and language exchanges, but all are encouraged to get out on their own and enjoy the city and its people as much as possible.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents. Spouses and dependents of State Department personnel at FSI Yokohama fall under the same employment rules that cover the Embassy community (see "The Host Country—Employment for Spouses and Dependents"). However, there are no spouse employment opportunities within FSI Yokohama, and jobs at the Embassy would require a long and expensive commute. English teaching or editing jobs and positions on a U.S. base or at one of the international schools would be the most likely sources of employment for any spouse who does not speak Japanese.

Post Orientation Program

An orientation program is held every fall for new personnel, spouses, and other adult family members. It encompasses presentations by the Ambassador, DCM, and other senior officers and is designed to acquaint the newcomer with the Mission's activities and objectives; U.S.-Japanese relationships in the economic, political, security, and scientific fields; and the Embassy's role in community activities.

The Embassy administers a post-language program that provides elementary, intermediate, and advanced Japanese-language instruction to U.S.-Government personnel and adult family members on a space-available basis. Instruction given in small groups of five or six persons is available on a 1-hour daily basis, usually in the morning. Even on this basis, you can make surprising progress over an extended period. With even an elementary knowledge of the language you can get around-shop, travel, ask directions, and carry on simple conversation.

Consulate General - Naha, Okinawa

Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, a chain that extends from Kyushu to Taiwan. Okinawa Prefecture (which includes the southern part of the archipelago) derives its name from the main island. Naha, the prefectural capital, is also located on the main island. The island of Okinawa is 70 miles long and on average 7 miles wide. It has over 1 million inhabitants, including about 50,000 U.S. military personnel and their families. Another 200,000 people live on the outlying islands. Naha is 800 miles southwest of Tokyo, 350 miles northeast of Taipei, and 750 miles north of Manila.

Although it is part of Japan, Okinawa has a distinct history and identity. It was once an independent kingdom, with a language and culture of its own, and paid tribute to the Chinese emperors. Even today, it differs from mainland Japan as climate, diet, customs, and other aspects of life shade into those of Southeast Asia. Okinawa officially became a part of Japan in the 1870s, and many of the Japanese emigrants to Hawaii and South America at the turn of the century actually came from Okinawa.

The island was the scene of the last major U.S.-Japanese battle of the Second World War, a battle in which about one-third of the Okinawan population was killed. From 1945 to 1972, Okinawa was under U.S. administration. The war and occupation left the Okinawan people with strong reservations about the use of military force. It is a source of friction that this small, crowded island is home to a large concentration of U.S. and—to a much lesser extent—Japan Self Defense Forces.

Climate. Okinawa’s climate resembles that found along the South Carolina coast. Winters are comfortable but cool at night and at the shore. Spring and fall are delightful. Summers are long, hot, and humid. Okinawa often experiences typhoons or strong tropical storms in the fall and occasionally heavy weather in the spring. Accordingly, most buildings are low and built of concrete.

Whenever annual rainfall is less than the normal 80 inches, water rationing is necessary. As of late 2000, there had been no rationing since a 21-day period in the winter of 1994.

Okinawa has a full complement of semitropical insects and reptiles, including the habu, a very aggressive, poisonous species of snake. Although Okinawan field workers and small animals are occasional snakebite victims, no consular personnel have experienced problems with snakes in recent memory. Prudence, however, especially at night, is the watchword; 200 to 250 snakebites are reported annually. Ants, spiders, fleas, ticks, rodents, and other small pests have from time to time caused minor problems. Small lizards called geckos are a standard part of the exterior and interior landscapes.

U.S. Military. American life on Okinawa is heavily influenced by the presence of 50,000 U.S. military personnel and their families. The military bases offer a full range of American-style conveniences, shopping, education, and leisure activities. Some neighborhoods just outside the larger bases resemble similar communities in the U.S., with shops, restaurants, car lots, and bars catering to service members.

Although many Americans make an effort to experience Okinawan culture, most focus the vast majority of their activities on base and within the American community. This is partly attributable to the fact that, despite many years of association with Americans, relatively few Okinawans can converse easily in English. The decline of the dollar against the yen has also made it more expensive to venture off-base for shopping or entertainment. At the same time, few Americans-most of them on short assignments—acquire a working competence in Japanese.

The U.S. Navy operates a hospital, and the Air Force a clinic, but the cost for civilians for nearly all forms of treatment is higher than at local hospitals. Off-base, only one hospital—Adventist Medical Center—has an English-speaking medical staff. For dental care, the only reasonable option is at an off-base clinic, such as Adventist’s, because civilians are a low priority at military facilities and prices are far higher than off-base.

Public Institutions

As a Japanese prefecture, Okinawa elects a governor and legislative assembly every 4 years. Local branches of conservative and reformist political parties vie for power, with the electorate divided roughly between the two broad persuasions. Anti-base sentiments and desires for base reductions are widespread among the Okinawan people, but anti-Americanism is very rare. Individual Americans rarely encounter expressions of hostility.

Okinawa receives the largest part of its income from the Japanese central government as transfer payments; tourism contributes about 12%; and direct, military-related spending accounts for about 6% of prefectural income. The U.S. military presence is less important to Okinawa’s prosperity than it once was, and some Okinawans argue that in fact it hinders the island’s development prospects.

The conduct and stationing of U.S. military personnel on Okinawa are subject to the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). All four services are represented. These forces assist in the defense of Japan according to the terms of the Mutual Security Treaty and have regional responsibilities that take them throughout the western Pacific area on exercises and training missions.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Consulate General is staffed by five American officers (consul general, political/military officer, administrative/consular officer, public affairs officer, and JO consular officer). The secretary/communicator is a locally hired American citizen. The Japanese staff numbers 14 State employees. Guards, grounds-keepers, and janitors are provided on a contract basis.

The post derives most of its work from the presence of the large American military community. That work has an extensive political/military component which involves reporting, advising, and other close interaction with military authorities. It also involves representational and other contacts with Japanese Government officials and a wide range of Okinawans. Additionally, the post has an active public affairs agenda and conducts commercial and economic programs. Finally, Naha is the only full-service consular post in Japan other than the Embassy. It is one of the top 10 passport issuing posts worldwide and processes more immigrant visas—mainly to military family members—than most medium-sized U.S. embassies in Europe.

The Consulate General is located about 10 minutes by car south of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station and 30 minutes north of Naha. The Consulate General office, situated on a well-landscaped plot of land with a large parking lot, was constructed in 1987. Three stories high, with central air-conditioning, the building includes consular and administrative work areas, consular waiting room, offices, storerooms, employee lounge, conference room, public affairs offices and a commercial/PAS library. Primary administrative support comes from Embassy Tokyo. The post has five assigned vehicles: the consul general’s sedan, two other sedans, an SUV, and a utility van. FPO is provided by nearby USMC bases.

Addresses and telephone numbers are:

American Consulate General 2564 Nishihara, Urasoe City Okinawa, Japan 901-2101

American Consulate General Naha PSC 556 Box 840 FPO AP 96386-0840

81-98-876-4211 (telephone from overseas) 81-98-876-4243 (fax from overseas) 645-7323 (Defense Switched Network) 645-2861 (DSN fax)

The Consulate General is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Japanese and American official holidays. The Consular Section is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. No duty personnel are in the building after normal working hours. A duty officer may be contacted through the U.S. Air Force Command Post at 81-98-939-1542, or 81-98-938-1111 ext. 634-1800.

New personnel are authorized 1 day for consultations in Tokyo en route to Naha. (An incoming consul general may be authorized 2 days for consultations at CINCPAC in Honolulu.) Embassy consultations include administrative check-in procedures, Embassy ID card issuance, and security briefing. Upon arrival in Okinawa, new personnel are issued military ID cards. Domestic flight reservations are sometimes difficult to obtain on short notice, so travelers should book confirmed seats to Naha (airport code: OKA) well in advance of planned travel.

Consign shipments to American Consulate General Naha, Okinawa, Japan. The post cashier is not authorized to perform accommodation exchange, but yen may be purchased at local banks or on base.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

New personnel normally move into existing leased housing upon arrival. If required, temporary lodging within per diem rates is available at nearby hotels, in furnished short-term apartments, or in visiting officers’ quarters on base. Arrangements are made case by case.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Naha’s housing is government leased and fully furnished. The houses have adequate furniture and appliances, are equipped with telephones, and are in good repair. All quarters have a washer and dryer, air-conditioning, dehumidifiers, gas or electric stoves and microwave ovens. Bring kitchen items, TV, stereo, and personal items. Alternatively, these can be purchased easily at the PX or BX. Modern housing suitable to Western tastes and within allowable housing budgets is difficult to find on Okinawa.

The consul general’s home is about 5 minutes away from the office and rests on a ridge overlooking the East China Sea. The house is also situated near the Marine air station runway, which can be both exciting and distracting. The 26-year-old dwelling has four bedrooms, two- and one-half bathrooms, a large living room, a dining room, servant’s quarters, a garage, a covered patio, and a walled-in yard. China, sterling silver, glassware, and some linens are also provided for the comfort and representational obligations of the consul general and his/her family. A specific inventory is available from the post upon request.

For other personnel, the Consulate General leases detached homes in a 30-year-old Southern California-style subdivision on another ridge, 30 minutes north of the office. Each house has a garage and yard, three bedrooms, two- and-one-half baths, and living and dining rooms. Each house has an extensive view, overlooking the ocean. Lawn service is available, or a lawn mower and weed-eater may be shipped with HHE or purchased locally. Storage space in homes is more than adequate.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Electricity on Okinawa is 100 volt, 60 cycles, with American standard wiring. American appliances such as fans, microwaves, radios, lamps, TVs and VCRs usually operate without problem, but the Consulate General does provide step-up transformers for large appliances. Although some TV programs on Japanese stations are bilingual, a U.S. bilingual set will not work. A special FM receiver can be purchased locally for about $100. Locally available rental videotapes are VHS. The electric supply at post housing is reliable. Telephone calls to the U.S. are relatively inexpensive, but internet service is somewhat costlier than in other countries since local calls are charged by the minute. During water shortages, water is rationed, and the tapwater is not potable. Water storage tanks are provided in each house to alleviate the strain during these periods. Washing machines and dryers are provided.

Food Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

American Consulate General Naha personnel are authorized access to Okinawa’s several U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. In many respects commissary prices and selection match those of a U.S. supermarket. Fresh fruits and vegetables from the U.S., however, are rare, and commissaries sometimes stock local items that failed to sell in off-base markets. Dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, and sour cream are ultra-pasteurized for extended shelf life but still sometimes spoil prior to their expiration date. Moreover, specific items may be out of stock for extended periods or disappear from shelves soon after arrival. Japanese grocery stores offer a better selection of high-quality produce but at much higher prices. There is no need to import anything except perhaps ethnic or specialty cooking ingredients and spices. American and other wines and liquors are available both on- and off- base.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Bring clothing suitable for the Carolinas, including warm jackets. Clothes can be purchased at the exchange (akin to Walmart or Sears in selection, but with slightly higher prices), at local shops catering to foreigners (where prices are very high), or through catalog mail orders. Bring special sizes or brand names, or plan to shop by mail. Japanese adult clothing is expensive and comes only in small sizes. Drycleaning and laundry service is available on the military bases through Japanese concessions, so prices are the same as at off-base facilities. American officers are invited to several black-tie functions throughout the year, so a tuxedo or formal wear for women is very useful.


Men Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Post personnel either wear a suit to work or shirt/tie and keep a jacket in the office. The post exchanges have a selection of ties, blazers, underwear, casual clothing, and shoes. Slacks, good shirts, jackets, and suits are best mail-ordered or brought to post. Dark blue or gray suits are worn to Japanese functions. After work, normal U.S. leisure clothing is fine, bearing in mind that Japanese tend to dress conservatively.


Women Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Consulate General employees should dress as professionals would in Washington, D.C. Cotton and other lightweight dresses and accessories are suitable for summer wear. Afternoon and evening wear is similar to that worn in the U.S., though depending on the occasion, more variety and less formality is seen. Scarves, jackets, and wraps are practical during the cool months. Lightweight wool suits and dresses are worn, as well as coats, jackets, and sweaters. The exchanges stock a variety of women’s clothes, as do local department stores and shops, although prices are high and sizes limited in the latter. Many American women prefer to order from catalogs.


Children Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Children dress as they would in the U.S. As with adults, shopping for children’s clothing is usually accomplished through a combination of the military exchange, local stores, and mail order. The supplies available on the island are adequate, but the range of choice in both style and pace is often limited. Kids have the most luck in Japanese department stores, although prices are higher than in the U.S.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Okinawa’s large military exchanges have a wide selection of U.S. products at stateside prices, and sales on electronic products and clothing are frequent. Larger bases have bookstores with a variety of book and magazine titles. Twenty-four hour shoppettes feature items stocked at the exchange and commissaries, at somewhat higher prices. Film processing is available at on-base concessions, but at prices slightly higher than off base. Barber and beauty shops on base offer U.S.-style services, but at Japanese prices. Standard men’s haircuts are less expensive, but remember to alert the barber if you don’t want a "high and tight!"

Daytime domestic help is available, though for most employees it is relatively expensive when compared to that available in developing countries. Veterinarian services are available on and off base; the on-base facility is a concession and charges local prices.

The military exchange allows check cashing, but employees often open U.S. dollar accounts with the military contract bank, Community Bank of Texas. The 24-hour ATM machines dispense dollars and yen at numerous locations on all bases, though without a local account transaction fees will be assessed. Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union are also available on Marine Corps bases and on Kadena Air Base, respectively. All three offer a range of deposit and loan services, but only Community Bank also offers conversion of dollars to yen. Credit Union ATMs dispense dollars only.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox, and Muslim services are offered on the military bases. Protestant services offered off-base in English include Episcopalian, Lutheran, Baptist, Evangelical, and other denominations. There are a number of Catholic churches off-base, but not all offer masses in English.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Several English-language school choices are available for children. The Department of Defense operates two senior high schools, two middle schools, and several elementary schools, offering a standard kindergarten through grade 12 American public school curriculum, athletic program, and after school activities, as well as a range of special education facilities.

The Okinawa Christian School is U.S. accredited and Protestant affiliated, and offers a kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum with American teachers and texts. It functions as the de facto international school here for students who do not have access to DOD schools but want an English-language education; nearly half of the students come from non-Christian homes. The school is located in Yomitan village, a fair distance from the Consulate General residential areas; busing is available.

New Life Academy, which is not U.S. accredited, offers a kindergarten through grade 6 academic curriculum with a Christian focus. It is located in Okinawa City near Kadena Air Base.

Several Montessori pre-schools and kindergartens for children age 2–6 have been used by recent employees. All of the military bases have day care facilities for younger children, but waiting lists are long and military dependents are given preference. Some off-base day care facilities include teaching components.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The following universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees on Okinawa through military base education offices:

Central Texas College: Associate of Applied Science (business management, child development, computer technology, legal assistant, other) University of Maryland: Associate of Arts (accounting, Japanese studies, management, other); Bachelor of Arts (Asian studies, business management, English, history, psychology, sociology, other); Master of Education (counseling and personnel services); teaching certification (secondary teaching) Michigan State University: Master of Science (community service) University of Oklahoma: Master of Arts (economics); Master of Human Relations; Master of Public Administration Troy State University: Master of Science (educational leadership, management). In addition, a wide choice of on-base adult education courses and self-help shops are available at low cost on subjects ranging from auto mechanics to woodworking.


Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Okinawa offers a variety of excellent facilities for anyone interested in taking up or playing a personal sport. The military operates two golf courses, two driving ranges, numerous tennis courts and bowling alleys, several gymnasiums, swimming pools and beaches, a marina, and recreational shooting ranges. Instruction in these sports as well as in karate, boxing and scuba diving is available at competitive prices. All the facilities tend to be crowded. The military also offers fishing boat parties. Off-base, Okinawan bullfighting (bloodless, between two bulls), Japanese professional baseball games during spring training, and marathon running are options. There is an active Hash House Harriers organization, with several runs/walks weekly.

The military bases offer a selection of youth activities: Cub/Boy Scouts, Brownie/Girl Scouts, soccer, peewee basketball, Little League baseball or t-ball, touch football, dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, etc. Check with post if you have specific interests.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Although many of the Okinawan beaches consist of ground coral mixed with sand, they are still one of the main attractions of a tour here. The better beaches on Okinawa charge an admission fee, but the military beaches are free. Wonderful islands just an hour away and accessible by ferry boats are great for snorkeling and diving. The northern half of Okinawa is sparsely populated and features a beautiful coastline of mountains and coral reefs. Unfortunately, all historical sites with the exception of ancient castle ruins were leveled in the 1945 battle. Shuri Castle, home of the most recent Okinawan monarch, has been rebuilt and is a major tourist attraction, as are other, older castle ruins. A large botanical garden and many well-maintained parks make Okinawa a family-friendly place.

Okinawa is a small, crowded island far from the mainland, so island fever can be a serious problem, especially given the prohibitively high cost of traveling off island. Consulate General personnel are authorized two R&R trips per 3-year tour (one trip per 2-year tour) to Hong Kong or CONUS, but do not qualify for military space-available flights. International reservations from Okinawa to Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong (currently the only foreign destinations) are often booked months in advance. No U.S. carriers serve Okinawa. Northwest Airlines operates a ticketing office on Okinawa, but connections must be made in Tokyo or Osaka.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

All of the bases have movie theaters, with films usually shown a month or two after they open in the U.S. Japanese movie theaters show recent foreign films in the original language with Japanese subtitles, but admission is quite expensive. Video rental shops on and off-base offer wide selections. A military TV station with standard U.S. programming, three Japanese TV commercial stations, and one Japanese pubic TV station, may be picked up off-base with roof antennas. The military also operates AM and FM radio stations. Numerous cable TV packages are available but more expensive than such services in the U.S.

Consular personnel may join military officers’ clubs (dues are currently $8 per month each for the Marine Corps and Air Force clubs), all of which feature restaurant service, frequent live (if amateur) music shows, and occasional stand-up comedy acts. Other eating establishments are found off-base at higher prices and include numerous steak houses, Mexican, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian, French, Argentine, pizza, fast food, and Japanese restaurants. Prices are slightly lower than in Tokyo for comparable meals. Bars and discos abound, though some refuse to cater to non-Japanese. American musical groups sometimes visit Okinawa, but these activities receive limited English-language publicity. Several large and impressive concert halls offer cultural events throughout the year.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM The 50,000 military personnel and family members on Okinawa focus most of their activities on the bases. Because the Consulate General staff is small and not part of the military establishment, military members are often unfamiliar with their role. Consular personnel, moreover, live apart from military personnel. Contacts with most Americans, DOD personnel and others come from work, church, or through children’s school activities. There is a small expatriate community and international women’s clubs where English is spoken are active. Other international contacts are more difficult, though not impossible, without Japanese language ability.

Consulate General - Osaka-Kobe

Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

One of the world’s greatest commercial cities, Osaka sits at the center of the Kansai region, Japan’s traditional heartland and its second largest economic center. From the 3rd century A.D., Osaka (then called Naniwa), with its bay and magnificent river system, has been the hub of inland traffic for the Kansai region and the center of Japanese trade. Over the past 3 decades, Osaka has lost its position as Japan’s premier commercial and industrial city to Tokyo. But Osaka and the Kansai region still rank as one of the most important economic regions in the world, and its economic output exceeds that of most European countries and equals that of Canada. Osaka is home to many of Japan’s most famous companies, including Matsushita (Panasonic), Sharp, Sanyo, Suntory, and Minolta. The approximately 85,000 manufacturing enterprises in Osaka prefecture alone employ nearly 1 million people and produce over $220 billion worth of goods annually.

In addition to Osaka, Japan’s third largest city with a population of nearly 3 million, the Osaka-Kobe consular district includes a number of other important cities. One hour to the north is Kyoto, Japan’s capital for 1,000 years and one of the greatest historical and cultural treasures in the world. Untouched by bombing during the Second World War, its ancient temples and shrines are a living monument to the traditions of Japanese art and civilization. Thirty minutes to the west of Osaka is the cosmopolitan port city of Kobe, noted for its foreign influence. Another major city in the Consulate General’s jurisdiction is Hiroshima, site of the first atomic bombing and the headquarters of the Japanese car maker, Mazda, now one-third owned by Ford Motor Company.

The largest of the constituent posts in Japan, the Consulate General’s jurisdiction includes 17 of Japan’s 47 prefectures and encompasses one-third of Japan’s population and GNP.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/13/2004 1:58 AM

The Consulate General is located in its own 11-story building, opened in 1987 and located in the heart of Osaka’s primary business and shopping district, a 15-minute walk from Osaka’s central train station. Its address is 11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543. The central switchboard number is (06) 315-5900. The building is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; employees work on a limited flex-time system, with most opting for the 8:45 a.m.–5:30 p.m. workday. Limited parking space for certain vehicles less than 1.55 meters tall is available near the building on a first-come, first-served basis. A number of employees have carpooled to work; most currently ride the commuter trains.

The Consulate General building houses the office of the consul general and the Management, Commercial, Consular, and Political/Economic Sections, as well as the Agricultural Trade Office. Also located in the building is the Kansai American Center, with its excellent reference library and multipurpose auditorium.

All employees and family members traveling to post are met upon arrival. Although some employees fly directly to post from overseas, most stop first at Embassy Tokyo for a day of consultations and then proceed to Osaka. In the latter case, we recommend employees and family members travel by air from Haneda Airport (Tokyo) to Itami Airport (Osaka). Please arrive during normal business hours.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Housing assignments are made by the post housing committee in accordance with the Department’s and post’s housing guidelines. All employees move directly into assigned housing. U.S. Government temporary or transient apartments are not normally available, so when overlaps occur, newcomers are placed in hotels.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Consulate General housing compound is located in the city of Nishinomiya, about 35 minutes by car or 1 hour and 10 minutes by train. Commuting time varies, depending on traffic if you drive, and on train connections and how fast you walk if you take the train. (There is about a 10- or 15-minute walk to the train station from home, and then about a 15-minute walk from the station to the office.)

Nishinomiya, a pleasant, upper-middle class suburb with a population of 420,000, is nestled between the mountains and Osaka Bay. It is noted for its educational institutions and is a famous center of sake brewage.

Named after Mike Mansfield, U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1977 to 1988, Mansfield House, the Consulate General’s 11-unit apartment complex, provides housing for the consul general and other American staff. Opened in 1987, it is a modern facility with four four-bedroom units (three have servants quarters and dens), four three-bedroom units, and three two-bedroom units. The compound includes a 40-foot outdoor swimming pool. The complex consists of six interconnected buildings, and is located near supermarkets, small shops, and the local commuter train station. The complex adjoins a small park with some playground equipment for small children. The compound also has a small common grassy area with a sandbox for youngsters.

The principal officer’s home (POR) is the largest of the residential units in the center of the compound. The home is a two-story structure with unfinished basement. The first floor includes a foyer with cathedral ceiling, a large living/dining area, kitchen with eating area, a guest bedroom, bathroom, and den (which could double as an extra bedroom). The formal dining table can accommodate 10 persons, and a nearby smaller table in an alcove can seat 6, for a total of 16. The second floor consists of a master bedroom with bath, two additional bedrooms, and a bathroom. The basement includes the cook’s quarters, laundry facilities, storage shelves, and extra freezers/refrigerators. The unit overlooks a grassy garden area, which can accommodate approximately 100 visitors.

The POR is completely furnished with a microwave, three refrigerators, three freezers, dishwasher, washer and dryer, vacuum cleaner, and other household appliances. Included is an uncrested set of china and glassware and a limited amount of sterling flatware, permitting sit-down dinners for 22 persons (with extra tables used), buffets for up to 60, and cocktails for up to 200. Tablecloths and guest linens are provided.

All units at the residential complex are fully furnished with basic furniture, stove, refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, lamps, wall-to-wall carpeting, and draperies. Each unit has a small storage area and a balcony or terrace. Residents must supply their own linens, dinnerware, flatware, and cooking utensils. The apartments have individual central heating and air-conditioning units in all rooms. As post has 11 housing units and 11 American employees, housing assignments are weighted toward family size, then position (not personal) grade.


Furnishings Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:03 AM

All essential furniture and appliances are furnished by the post; bring only personal and decorative furnishings. Check with the Management Section about the exact size of your assigned housing to determine if there is space for larger items you may wish to bring. As noted above, bring your own linens, dinnerware, flatware, and cooking utensils. Although minor household furnishings, kitchenware, china, small appliances, etc., are available locally, their prices are higher, so employees may wish to bring these items as well. Note: Post does not have warehouse space for storage of personal items, furniture, or personally owned vehicles.

Japanese electricity is 100 volts. Because the electric power supply in Osaka is 60 cycles (unlike Tokyo’s 50 cycles), you can use items from America such as clocks and record players without adaptation. Although no problems occur with AM radio, FM stations broadcast on lower frequencies so a radio capable of receiving Japanese FM stations is required and can be purchased locally.

Although both the U.S. and Japan use the NTSC format for TV, channels broadcast on different frequencies. TVs and video tape recorders set to U.S. channels require significant readjustment to receive and record Japanese channels, and it may not be possible to readjust the set at departure. Those who want to watch Japanese TV probably will decide to buy a set locally. Prices for a 14-inch set begin at about $270. Many programs in Japan, including news and movies, are broadcast bilingually, so some employees find the investment in a bilingual TV receiver or adapter worthwhile. Residents of the compound also receive two additional channels, broadcast via NHK satellite. These channels provide a variety of English-language news, sports, movies, and entertainment. It is possible, of course, to watch prerecorded tapes by using a TV receiver and VCR set for American channels. Video rental stores are common, with VHS the preferred format. Cable TV hookup at the compound’s homes is also available, and services and costs vary. Some employees have established Internet connections at their homes using their personal computers. Service and costs also vary, but currently run about $30 per month for unlimited Internet service, plus the cost of local telephone calls to connect to the provider.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

No shortages of or problems with electricity, gas, or water occur in Japan, absent an event like the Kobe Earthquake in January 1995. Telephone service is excellent, and direct dialing is available for international calls. Many staff find it essential to have a U.S. calling card to keep telephone costs down. As noted above, electricity in the Osaka area is 100 volts/60 cycles, and U.S.-style plugs are used at Mansfield House. Typical Japanese outlets accommodate a plug with two, equally-sized flat prongs.

Food Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The local market is filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, breads, meats, fish, and dairy products, and its use requires no more sanitary caution than one would apply in the U.S. All of these items are expensive, however, and for nearly 2 decades American employees have received a post (cost-of-living) allowance.

The post has no commissary or PX, but frozen foods, other items, and beverages are obtainable from military commissaries in the Tokyo and Hiroshima areas. Many families make regular visits to stock up on needed food items. While travel time can reach 7 hours one-way, most spend the night in inexpensive accommodations on base. Tolls are also expensive. A wide variety of foodstuffs can also be purchased through the Embassy Welfare Association, with additional charges added for order preparation and commercial shipping from Tokyo to Osaka. Some arriving families have used part of their HHE shipment to bring canned goods, spices, and other basics. Many stores in Kobe also carry foreign-brand foodstuffs, albeit at higher prices than in the U.S. or the country of origin. A local buyer’s club also permits the purchase of international foods.

Although the Consulate General has a small snackbar area with beverage vending machines, a refrigerator, and a microwave, no prepared foods are available. Employees either bring their lunch from home or eat in neighborhood restaurants that offer reasonable lunch time menus.

Osaka is known as a "kuidaore" (food-loving) city. Both Western-style and Japanese restaurants abound, particularly in the area between the Consulate General and Osaka Station and in the Namba district. These range from affordable shops and sushi bars to exclusive, members-only establishments. Most staff have the opportunity to experience a broad range of the dining spectrum.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Fashion tastes in Japan increasingly are influenced by American trends, but Japanese—particularly in this area—tend to be fashion-conscious in a conservative way. Americans who dress similarly will be well received.

Clothing and shoes purchased locally are expensive, and size also presents a problem. Some American clothing and shoes are available at the military PXs mentioned above, but the cost of travel and the difference in clothing requirements presents a practical limit to this option. Many employees at post shop using U.S. catalogs and taking advantage of the excellent mail service available via APO. Shopping trips to Korea and Hong Kong are also a possibility.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Almost everything is available in Japan, but prices range from high to exorbitant. If you favor certain brands or need special medicines or a regular supply of some item (e.g., contact lens cleaner, toiletries, or hot cooking sauce), it may be better and cheaper to ship them from the U.S.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Laundry and drycleaning services are excellent, as are barber and beauty shops. Women’s hair coloring may not match colors available in the U.S., so bringing samples may help. Repair facilities for American-made appliances and automobiles are often inadequate; repairs for Japanese products are adequate and easily available but expensive.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Domestic help is hard to find, and wages are high. Day help can be obtained from an agency, but at nearly $300 per day. Live-in cook/servants charge about $1,800 a month, plus a month’s bonus twice a year. Employees must also provide plane fare to the home country once per year.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

English-language services for followers of the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths are held in Kobe. Catholic and Anglican/ Episcopalian Churches, with Japanese-language services, are 10 minutes from the housing compound in Nishinomiya.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM English-speaking students have a choice of four schools in the Osaka and Kobe areas. All are located between 30 to 90 minutes from the Nishinomiya housing compound, depending on the school, the mode of transportation, and traffic. The Foreign Service educational allowance currently covers tuition and other required educational expenses as well as transportation costs.

Canadian Academy, a coeducational facility founded in 1913, teaches kindergarten through high school and also offers boarding facilities for boys and girls grades 7-12. The curriculum is based on the typical college preparatory system in the U.S. The school has an extensive array of extracurricular activities. The language of instruction in all subjects is English. A school bus stop is located a short walk from the housing compound, and is available for children up to the fifth grade. Older children take the train. Address: Koyo-cho Naka 4-chome, Higashinada-ku, Kobe, 658-0032, Telephone +81 (78) 857-0100, Fax +81 (78) 857-3250.

Osaka International School, founded in 1992, also offers a wide curricula and a number of extracurricular activities with a college preparatory emphasis. A school bus for all ages can be taken from near the housing compound. Address: 4-16, Onohara Nishi 4-chome, Mino-shi, Osaka 562-0032, Telephone +81 (727) 27-5050, Fax +81 (727) 27-5055.

Marist Brothers International School, for boys and girls from kindergarten through grade 12, was founded in 1951 and is located in western Kobe. The curriculum is based on the U.S. college preparatory system. The language of instruction in all subjects is English. Children can go from Nishinomiya (east of Kobe) to Marist by public transportation. Address: 2-1, Chimori-cho 1-chome, Suma-ku, Kobe 654-0072, Telephone +81 (78) 732-6266, Fax +81 (78) 732-6268.

St. Michael’s International School, a primary school for boys and girls, is an Episcopal school for children of all nationalities and faiths. It is built on the site of the old English Mission School in the center of Kobe. A school bus stop is available about 2 kilometers away from the compound. Address: 17-2 Nakayamate dori 3-chome, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0004, Telephone +81 (78) 231-8885, Fax +81 (78) 231-8899.

A number of Japanese nursery schools accept foreign children.

In Kyoto, the Kyoto International School, for boys and girls in grades 1 through 8, serves a diverse foreign community of a number of nationalities. Most of the parents are teachers, research scholars, artists, or missionaries. Address: 317 Kitatawara-cho, Naka-dachiuri Sagaru, Yoshiyamachi-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8247, Telephone +81 (75) 451-1022, Fax +81 (75) 451-1023.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Many Americans here enjoy classes and tutoring in traditional Japanese art forms such as flower arranging, cooking, dancing, pottery making, music, brush painting, and calligraphy, as well as in Japanese sports such as judo, kendo, karate, and aikido. Prices for lessons, however, are typically high.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Sports facilities are available, but are more crowded and expensive than in the U.S.

The Consulate General housing compound in Nishinomiya has a swimming pool. A number of pools, tennis courts, and health clubs in the area are open on either a membership or a pay-as-you-go basis. Employees have opted for membership in nearby YMCA-type sports clubs. Typical costs are a one-time membership fee of about $100, and about $100 a month thereafter.

Public golf courses and driving ranges are crowded and rather expensive. Private golf clubs are numerous but beyond the financial reach of most U.S. Government employees. However, employees occasionally receive invitations to play in golf tournaments organized by the Japan-America societies and other American-affiliated groups.

Excellent beaches are a few hours’ drive or a ferry ride away from Kobe. The Osaka-Kobe area has numerous bowling alleys and roller and ice skating rinks. Winter skiing areas are located a 2-hour train ride or 3-hour car ride away. The Rokko Mountain National Park in Kobe has extensive hiking trails, and a smaller mountain hiking area is a 10-minute walk from the Nishinomiya compound.

Zoos, aquariums, amusement parks, and museums of all types are available for family outings.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Local festivals are held in the consular district throughout the year. Public and private museums regularly feature special exhibits. Department stores also sponsor fairs showcasing food items and crafts from different Japanese prefectures.

Kyoto is an international cultural treasure and a popular touring destination. Shops in Kyoto and elsewhere are well-stocked with wood block prints, china, porcelain, scrolls, screens, etc. Its centuries-old festivals and innumerable temples and shrines bring visitors back again and again.

Nearby Nara was founded in A.D. 710 and contains some of the oldest and most famous art treasures in Japan, including the Great Buddha of the Todaiji Temple, housed in the world’s largest wooden building. Hundreds of tame deer freely roam Nara Park and are very popular with children.

To the west of Kobe is Himeji, site of the most spectacular castle in Japan. It has been the site of many Japanese samurai movies, including the American TV program, "Shogun." To the west and south lies the Inland Sea, whose quiet shores and scenic islands are within easy reach of the compound by bridge and ferry.

Two of Japan’s most famous scenic spots are in the consular district: Amanohashidate on the Japan Sea and Miyajima Shrine near Hiroshima. Also in Hiroshima is the Peace Park and Museum. See also Tokyo, Touring and Outdoor Activities.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Movie houses throughout Osaka and Kobe show first-run American and foreign films, while at prices two to three times higher than in the U.S. Auditoriums in Kobe and Osaka offer concerts by world-famous classical and popular artists as well as symphony orchestras, ballet, and opera. Osaka is also the home of Bunraku, the famous traditional Japanese puppet theater, and Kabuki and Noh performances are also presented. The spring tournament of sumo, the historical sport popular among foreigners and Japanese alike, is held annually in Osaka. A unique all-girl troupe in Takarazuka, a 30-minute train ride from the compound, performs Western-style musicals on a constantly changing bill.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Most Americans entertain in their homes. Kobe and Osaka have many nightclubs and restaurants suitable for entertainment in a variety of price ranges. The Kansai Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) maintains an office in Osaka and meets periodically for luncheons and dinners in Osaka and Kobe. The George Washington Society, a gathering of American residents in the Kansai, celebrates George Washington’s birthday with a formal ball and the Fourth of July with a picnic.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Japanese enjoy Western entertainment and accept invitations to American homes. Both formal and informal contacts between Americans and Japanese are extensive.

The Japan-America Societies in Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Hiroshima sponsor a variety of lectures, luncheons, and parties that offer an excellent opportunity to establish friendships. The Japan-America Women of the Kansai (JAWK) meets bimonthly and organizes a number of programs to increase friendship and understanding between women of the two countries as well as to raise money for charitable organizations. Rotary International, Lions International, and the Jaycees have chapters in almost every city and like to meet with official Americans. Japanese-American sister city affiliation committees promote a number of exchanges. The Kobe Women’s Club meets weekly from September to May for art programs, excursions, bridge, and other activities.

Twenty-three official and 45 honorary consulates general and consulates are in the Osaka-Kobe area, as are foreign business representatives of all nationalities.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Participating in Japanese functions is an important part of the Consulate General’s public outreach and representational activities. Invitations to functions hosted by public and private organizations are frequent, and Consulate General officers are called upon periodically to represent the consul general at representational affairs. Although dinners and luncheons are held, the most common representational activities are early evening receptions.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:05 AM

Employees at post can expect a professional social life as full as they want it to be. A circular letter announcing new officer assignments is sent to local Japanese officials and the consular corps of Kobe and Osaka. Personal calls by newly arrived personnel are a practical means of becoming acquainted. As at other posts in Japan, bilingual calling cards are a necessity. The Management Section can arrange for printing as soon as possible after arrival.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Personnel assigned to Osaka-Kobe are usually authorized 1 day and 2 nights en route at the Embassy in Tokyo for consultations. If you notify the Embassy of your arrival plans, you will be met at the airport. Preliminary administrative processing will be done at the Embassy, which also will help arrange onward air transportation to Osaka-Kobe. (Given that flights between Tokyo’s Haneda and Osaka’s Itami airports are crowded, those who plan to arrive in Osaka by air should make their in-country air reservations before arrival in Japan.)

Pets may be brought into the country through Kansai International Airport. If advance notice is given, at-home quarantines can sometimes be arranged. No quarantine is required for cats. Pets are not permitted on the Shinkansen "bullet trains," even as freight.

Personnel should write to the Embassy’s administrative counselor and to the principal officer of the Consulate General regarding estimated dates and means of arrival and provide information on accompanying family members, pets, baggage, and any special considerations.

Personnel at the post can use APO facilities as well as international and domestic Japanese mail services.

Address regular international mail to: American Consulate General 11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543 Japan

Address APO Mail to:

American Consulate General, Unit 45004 Box 239 APO AP 96337-5004

Post Orientation Program

A knowledge of Japan and the Japanese language is an asset for all staff members. The post encourages all personnel to attend Japanese-language classes, which are held in the Consulate General building and at the homes. The post also has a small but excellent library of books on Japan. The Community House and Information Center (CHIC) and the YMCA Cross-Cultural Center in Kobe offer regular community orientation programs for newcomers.

Consulate General - Sapporo

Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Sapporo is a modern city of 1.8 million people and the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost major island of Japan. The city is the governmental and commercial center of Hokkaido, which is the size of Austria and has a population a bit larger than that of Finland or Denmark (5.7 million).

Sapporo is renowned for its winter events and sports facilities. The city has hosted the Winter Olympics (1972), many other world-class skiing events, and holds the world’s largest Snow Festival each year in February.

Within easy driving of the city are breathtaking volcanic lakes and gorges, white water rivers, mountains dressed with cedar, pine, birch, and aspen, and spectacular views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan.

Sapporo is located in a snow belt and has a "subarctic" climate. But, despite over 20 feet of snow each year, winter temperatures are moderate, seldom dropping below 20ř at night and staying just below freezing during the day. Spring is short but pleasant and summer is delightful, with temperatures in the 70’s—15 to 20 degrees cooler than in Tokyo or Osaka.

The special attachment the people of Hokkaido have for Americans is unique. In the early 1870s when the Japanese Government began a crash program to develop Hokkaido, Japanese officials called on President Grant for advice. Grant responded by recommending his own Secretary of Agriculture, Horace Capron, as a candidate to organize a group of American and foreign experts to assist in the opening of Hokkaido. After accepting the Japanese offer, Capron left his post in the U.S. and worked for the Government of Japan for 5 years as a senior advisor in charge of developing Hokkaido. The American educators, engineers, and agricultural experts who joined Capron are remembered fondly in Hokkaido even today; and are honored with statues and museums in and around Sapporo.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The consular district comprises Hokkaido, as well as Aomori, Akita, Iwate and Miyagi, the four northern prefectures of Honshu, the main island of Japan. North to south, the district stretches about 700 miles and covers over one-third of Japan.

Travel within the consular district is primarily by car in Hokkaido and by plane for trips to Tohoku. There are convenient ferry, train, and bus services. Sapporo has an extensive subway system. New Chitose International Airport, which serves Sapporo, is about 1 hour from the Consulate General.

If traveling by air directly to Sapporo from the U.S., most people come through Narita International Airport in Tokyo and change to a Japanese domestic airline or U.S. carrier code-share flight to Sapporo. Convenient connections are also possible through New Kansai Airport in Osaka. There are direct international flights between Sapporo and Honolulu, Seoul, Taipei, Amsterdam, and Shenyang. Flying time from Narita to Sapporo is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The trip by train from Tokyo is about 12 hours and by car, over 24 hours.

Housing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Consulate General and the American Center are located in attractive facilities in a picturesque setting on the edge of Maruyama Park. The office building and the principal officer’s home, which is also on the site, were completed and occupied in the fall of 1978.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Several first-class hotels in Sapporo are suitable for temporary lodging until government quarters are available. Inform the Consulate General in advance of what you require, and the post will make the necessary arrangements.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:08 AM

American employees of the Consulate General and the American Center live in either government-owned or government-leased furnished quarters. The Consul General’s home is a two-story house with representational living/dining areas, powder room, and modern kitchen on the first floor; four bedrooms and two baths on the second. It has spacious closets and storage areas, laundry facilities, and garage space. All furniture and furnishings are provided.

The home has china, glassware, flatware, kitchen utensils, a microwave, a mixer, and a blender. Bring paintings, prints and other personal decorative items.

The consular/management/economic officer at post occupies U.S. Government-leased quarters close to the Consulate General that are provided with major appliances and basic furniture and furnishings. Occupants should bring small kitchen appliances, china, utensils, glassware, and silverware as well as items that give a home a personalized touch.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:10 AM

The electric current in Sapporo is 100v, 50-cycle, AC. Except for appliances with synchronous motors, such as electric clocks and tape recorders, standard American electrical appliances run well. Cable and satellite television are available for a reasonable monthly fee.

Internet Ordering. Sapporo has APO delivery service. Books, toiletries, clothing, coffee and other products are readily available from Internet sites. Delivery from the U.S. takes 7-14 days.

Food Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The only commissary and BX in the consular district is at Misawa Air Base, 12 hours away by car and a long, expensive ferry ride. You can get most foods, including delicious Hokkaido crab and other seafood delicacies, on the open market. Department stores, supermarkets, and specialty food shops sell a variety of foodstuffs; however, most food prices in the local markets are considerably higher than they are in Washington, D.C.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Bring an adequate supply of clothing. Though department stores carry a variety of clothing and shoes, sizes are limited, and prices are very high. Local tailors and dressmakers are good but extremely expensive. Fashion for men is fairly conservative, i.e., dark suits for business.

In the long winters here, lined, knee-high snow boots, warm gloves, caps and warm winter clothing, including snow suits for children, are necessities. If you plan to ski, snowboard, or skate, bringing the necessary equipment from the U.S. could cut costs by more than 50%.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Sapporo has nearly every kind of specialty shop and repair facility. Barbers and beauticians are adequate. Drycleaning is available though somewhat more expensive than in the U.S. Local auto mechanics are competent, but parts for foreign-made cars must be specially ordered and are expensive.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:10 AM

Live-in domestic help is almost impossible to find and very expensive. Hourly maid services are available. A cook and a maid staff the Consul General’s home.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Sapporo has Catholic and Protestant churches and Baha’i and Islamic communities. Some services and activities are conducted in English. There is no synagogue, but a small group of Jewish residents gather to celebrate Passover and other observances.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The Hokkaido International School is the only English-language school in Sapporo and offers courses from kindergarten through grade 12, with a student population of about 170 children. Though small, the school has improved considerably since moving into an impressive new building built with the aid of the Hokkaido Government in 1995. HIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Recent graduates have been accepted by such universities as Cornell and the University of Virginia.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

All Consulate General personnel have an opportunity to study Japanese under the post-language program. Texts and tapes are supplied by the Department; however, instructors are more than willing to tailor programs to students’ schedules and personal interests.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Hokkaido is a sports fan’s paradise. In the winter one can ski, ice skate, and cross-country ski; in the summer one can play golf (very expensive compared to the U.S.) and tennis, hike, camp, boat, and swim (both in summer and in winter at indoor public pools near the Consulate General and at various resorts). Hunting for bear, deer, pheasant, duck, and rabbit is available. However, obtaining a hunting license is a difficult and complicated procedure.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Jozankei, a hot-spring resort, lies on the banks of a swiftly flowing stream in a beautiful valley, 17 miles southwest of Sapporo. Jozankei has many large hotels, some with Western-style accommodations.

Noboribetsu hot springs is about 80 miles southeast of Sapporo. Its outstanding feature is a valley filled with sulfur pools known as the Valley of Hell.

The Ainu Village at Shiraoi, about 1 hour south of Noboribetsu, is one of the few places in Hokkaido where you can see an exhibition of Ainu customs and culture.

Lake Toya and Lake Shikotsu were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. Both offer pleasant mountain scenery and opportunities for hiking and boating. They are 2–3 hours’ drive from Sapporo.

For a long weekend or holiday, Akan National Park in the eastern part of the island offers the famous lakes of Akan, Kutcharo, and Mashu as well as pleasant drives through beautiful mountain and forest scenery. Sounkyo Gorge, about a 5-hour drive from Sapporo, is also famous for its scenery.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Sapporo is a modern city with excellent restaurants, first-class hotels serving international cuisine, modern theaters featuring American movies in English with Japanese subtitles, a zoo, a municipal symphony orchestra, a modern art museum, and well-stocked department stores.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Hokkaido has a small but growing American business community. There is an American missionary community and the number of American English teachers in Hokkaido is increasing. Aside from these groups, social activities among Americans are limited.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Social and recreational opportunities here for a foreigner not willing to plunge into the Japanese culture and language are much more limited than in cosmopolitan cities with larger foreign communities. The principal officer is offered an honorary membership in the Rotary Club. Staff members attend many post representational functions and join the Japan-American Society, which has luncheon meetings every month and golf, tennis, and skiing activities during the year.

Only a limited number of Sapporo citizens can carry on a conversation in English, but many people are eager to befriend foreigners. A basic speaking knowledge of Japanese is essential in broadening friendships.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

It is the Japanese custom to exchange calling cards and officers will need a sizable supply immediately upon arrival. Cards are printed with English on one side and Japanese on the other. If requested, the Consulate General can have cards printed before arrival.

Mail and Shipping: APO address for mail and parcel post is:

(Name) American Consulate General Sapporo Unit 45004, Box 276 APO AP 96337-0003

For International Mail: (Name) American Consulate General Kita 1-jo, Nishi 28 chome 064-0821 Sapporo, Japan

Special Information Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:23 AM

Employment for Spouses and Dependents

Effective December 12, 2001, non-Japanese Consular spouses who seek employment on the local economy may obtain a work permit from the Government of Japan. Please contact Human Resources Office for details.

Consulate - Fukuoka

Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Fukuoka City, capital of Fukuoka Prefecture, is the cultural, economic, and educational center of Kyushu Island with a population of 1.3 million people. The city is the heart of the region’s $410 billion economy, which is larger than that of Australia and almost equal that of South Korea. The Island encompasses 10% of Japan’s GNP and the region represents Japan’s fourth economic center behind the Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya region. In addition, the region boasts an economic growth rate above the national average and increasing integration into the regional Asian economy. Already known as Japan’s "Silicon Island" because of the semiconductor industry that accounts for over 30% of Japan’s total chip output, Kyushu is also developing into a major car-manufacturing center. It will soon produce 10% of Japan’s car output, based on roboticized state-of-the-art auto technology.

Fukuoka City also is the heart of the Island’s dynamic hi-tech research and development, which is noted as a leading world center for research in advanced computer chips, nuclear fusion, and robotics. With its long tradition of openness to the outside world and receptivity to foreign ideas and products, Fukuoka City has developed into Japan’s test market for fashion design and new products.

Culturally and politically, Fukuoka has led Kyushu’s advancement in promoting some of the nation’s most active sister-city programs and Japan-America Society activities. Fukuoka City’s universities are highly active in expanding student and cultural exchanges, particularly with Asia. In addition, Fukuoka City’s leading officials are exploring ways in which the City, region, and people may play a more constructive role in the development of the Asian-Pacific Region.

In this context, the Kyushu region is known as the "Gateway to Asia," maintaining close economic, cultural, and political ties with Japan’s Asian neighbors. Fukuoka City has established the Asian Cultural Awards to honor contributions to the understanding of Asian culture and thought by both Western and Asian scholars. It has also initiated an Asian-Pacific Mayors summit to encourage networking by local leaders in order to work cooperatively in developing solutions to common problems. The City has also established regular meetings with counterparts in Korea to promote understanding and cooperation. Reflecting Fukuoka City’s increasing prominence in Asia, Asia Week, a weekly magazine published in Hong Kong named Fukuoka City the "Most Livable City in Asia" for the second time in 1999. Fukuoka also hosted the G-8 Finance ministers meeting in July 8, 2000, prior to the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit of G-8 meeting in Okinawa on July 21–23. The city hopes to become an important international economic, cultural, and political center in the future.

Few regions in Japan can match Kyushu’s historic consciousness, and fewer yet have the deep sense of self-identity and pride seen in the people of Kyushu. According to tradition, it is here that the Sun Goddess Amaterasu descended from heaven to establish the nation of Japan, and it is here where Japan’s first emperor was born. Kyushu led Japan out of feudalism in 1868, and its local heroes have played major roles in shaping modern Japan.

The consular district—which contains over 15 million people—comprises the seven prefectures of Kyushu Island and Yamaguchi Prefecture on the main island of Honshu. Other major cities in the district include Kitakyushu, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, and Kagoshima.

Two key U.S. military facilities, Sasebo Naval Base and the Marine Corps Air Station at Iwakuni, are located in the consular district. The foreign missions are also established in Fukuoka and the Kyushu region.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:24 AM

The Consulate is located in a quiet residential area about 2 kilometers from the city’s business and commercial center, Tenjin. The attractive Consulate building was completed in 1960 and is only a short walk from Fukuoka’s main subway line. The Consulate houses the offices of the principal officer as well as the Management/Consular and Economic/Commercial Sections.

The address of the Consulate is 5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052; the switchboard phone number is (092) 751-9331, the main fax number is (092) 713-9222. The Economic/Commercial Section’s fax number is 092-725-3772. Working hours at the Consulate is from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Extensive information about the Consulate is available on its Internet Home Page, at:

The Fukuoka American Center (FAC) occupies the top floor of an eight-story building in the heart of Tenjin, Fukuoka’s shopping and business district. The Center is conveniently located near subway, train and inter-city bus stations, restaurants and shopping. The FAC address is 2-2-67 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0001; the telephone numbers are (092) 761-6661/3; the fax is (092) 721-0109. Working hours at the FAC is from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The FAC’s Internet Home Page address is:

Personnel assigned to Fukuoka are normally given consultations at Embassy Tokyo en route to post, and are also provided with assistance with onward travel arrangements. Arrivals in Japan during working hours will normally be met at Narita International Airport.

The Consulate will meet newly assigned officers and their families at Fukuoka Airport or Hakata train station, if advised in advance of travel plans.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

New employees and their families almost always move directly into government-owned housing on arrival. If necessary, several good Western-style hotels in Fukuoka have accommodations within the temporary housing allowance. Meals in the hotels are more expensive than in the U.S.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Housing for the Consulate’s four officers is located adjacent to the Consulate building. The housing consists of four white stucco townhouses, completed in May 1982, with enclosed parking space for four vehicles. The West Coast-style townhouses were designed by an American architect. Although each is uniquely designed, all contain electric central heating and air-conditioning.

The two larger units have adjoining living/ dining rooms for entertaining, a large kitchen, study, den, four bedrooms, and three-and-a-half baths. These units each have a moderately sized living room with seating for 10–12 and the adjoining dining room is capable of seating 10.

The other two units have living rooms, dining areas, kitchens, utility rooms, three bedrooms each, and two-and-a-half baths. All units have either small yards or decks/terraces.

Housing is situated across the street from the scenic Ohori Park, which contains a large lake, a Japanese garden, a popular two-kilometer jogging course, boat rentals, a lakeside restaurant, a museum, and two children’s playgrounds.

As noted above, personnel assigned to Fukuoka usually occupy their assigned housing without delay. A Welcome Kit will take care of essentials until your personal effects arrive.

Those assigned to Fukuoka are authorized limited shipments of household effects. Include tableware, glassware, silver, china, linens, kitchen utensils, pictures, and other items of personal preference. Although such items can be purchased locally or through the Base Exchange at the Sasebo U.S. Navy facility, prices can be prohibitive and selection limited.


Furnishings Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Housing is fully furnished with all essential furniture and basic electric appliances. Room for a few personal decorative pieces of furniture is available, but the Consulate has no warehouse or storage facilities. The principal officer is provided with china, glassware, and silver for 24.

All homes have refrigerator/freezers, electric ranges, separate freezers, automatic washers and dryers, microwaves and garbage disposals.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

All toilets are Western-style, with deep tile Japanese-style bathtubs in the master bathroom in each unit. Electricity in Fukuoka is 100v, 60 cycles; AC (different from Tokyo’s 50 cycles), so most U.S.-made electric appliances can generally be used without difficulty. Electric sockets are compatible with U.S. Plugs. All units contain telephones, for which occupants pay a monthly base charge, a per-minute charge for each call and, of course, long-distance charges. Overseas calls are billed separately and are expensive by U.S. standards. Overseas calling services are available, and are considerably cheaper than the Japanese long-distance carrier.

There are a number of FM radio stations in Fukuoka. These stations broadcast at a different frequency than those in the U.S., however, so a radio capable of receiving the Japanese FM band is required. Similarly, regional television channels broadcast at a different frequency (although using the U.S. NTSC format). Newer televisions allow automatic reprogramming of channels. Many employees purchase a new or used television set locally with bilingual capability. Several channels carry programs in English on the sub-channel, including news programs. Cable TV is available at commercial rates at post. All units are wired for cable. Basic cable includes CNN, MTV, sports, and a choice of movie channels, generally in English. Video rental stores (VHS) are common in Fukuoka, but selection varies.

Food Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

American-type foods are available locally, and health and food product safety standards are comparable to those in the U.S. Fresh meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables, as well as staples, packaged foods, and coffee are sold in Japanese markets, although at higher prices than in the U.S. Beef prices are exceptionally high by American standards. The nearest commissary at the U.S. Naval Base in Sasebo is an expensive 5-6 hour round-trip by car or train. Commissary shopping is also available at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, but this facility is located even farther away from Fukuoka. Costco, a U.S.-based warehouse-style grocery store opened in 1999. Prices there are reasonable by Japanese standards, but are higher than at similar stores in the U.S.

Baby food is available but difficult to find on the local economy (but is available at the Naval Base in Sasebo). Good-quality milk, butter, and margarine are available locally. A selection of cheeses from Europe, the U.S. and New Zealand are sold at Japanese outlets at higher than U.S. prices. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive than those in the U.S.; however, they are also fresher.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

As with other major cities in Japan, current American and European fashions are available at the larger department stores but at higher prices (for name labels, two to three times the U.S. price is the norm). Also, finding U.S. sizes is often a problem. Military exchanges offer some relief, but stocks are limited and trips to the bases are expensive and time consuming. Mail-order catalogs are a commonly used source of clothing.

Fukuoka’s winters are usually mild (it usually snows one or two days per year) although the proximity to the Korean Peninsula occasionally results in a sudden cold snap. Summers in Fukuoka are similar to those in Washington, hot and humid. Bring a four-season wardrobe. As with the rest of Japan, residents of Fukuoka dress conservatively. See Tokyo, Clothing, for other information on dress standards.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Toiletries, cosmetics, tobacco products, commonly used home medical supplies, and virtually all household supplies can be found in Japanese shops but at high prices. Cribs, playpens, strollers, diapers, and other products for babies are available but, again, are expensive locally. These items are available at the U.S. military exchange and commissary facilities at Sasebo and Iwakuni, or through catalogs.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Local shoe repair, dry cleaning, laundry, barbers and beauty shops are more expensive than in the U.S. Dealers representing the major U.S. automobile manufacturers have offices in Fukuoka. Nevertheless, parts for American and other foreign autos are expensive and harder to find. In terms of servicing and size, most employees choose to purchase a used Japanese car, which can be purchased at post.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Cost of a full-time servant, including food and transportation, is about Ą175,000 per month. Part-time domestic help costs Ą10,000 daily, including transportation. It is also customary to pay semi-annual bonuses (June and December), that usually amount to a month’s pay each time. The principal officer is the only officer at post with U.S. Government-paid domestic help to assist with official representational entertaining.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Roman Catholic, Latter-day Saints, and Protestant churches (including Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal) in the city hold services in Japanese to which Americans are welcome. English-language Protestant and Roman Catholic services are also available. Fukuoka does not have a Jewish congregation.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Founded in 1972, the Fukuoka International School (FIS) is a private, coeducational day and boarding school that offers an educational program from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 for English-speaking students of all nationalities. The school year comprises two semesters extending approximately from September 1 to June 18.

A Board of Directors and Board of Trustees govern the school. The school is a member of the Japan Council of Overseas Schools and the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools.

A basic college preparatory U.S. curriculum is updated regularly to keep it current with trends in the U.S. as well as in other international schools in Japan. The curriculum includes English as a Second Language (ESL) program, Japanese-language classes, and computer classes. FIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The 2000-2001 school year consists of 1 headmaster, 18 full-time and 9 part-time staff members, including 11 American citizens, 8 host-country nationals, and 5 third-country nationals.

Enrollment at the beginning of the 2000-2001 school year was 173 students. Korean, American, and Japanese are the largest nationalities represented at the international school, but British, Australian, Canadian and other nationals also are part of a very culturally diverse student community. Of the American enrollment, two were dependents of U.S. Government direct-hire employees, and 41 were dependents of other private U.S. citizens.

A new two-story physical plant with a gymnasium was constructed in 1990/91. A dormitory was built in the 1994/95 school year. The current facility consists of 11 classrooms, a science lab, a music room, a language laboratory, physics, science and computer rooms, an art room, an office, principal’s room, a kitchen, a student lounge, and a 5,100 volume library. The dormitory provides rooms for 24 live-in students.

In the 2000-2001 school year, nearly all of the school’s income was derived from regular day school tuition and registration fees. Annual tuition rates were as follows: pre-kindergarten: $8,341; kindergarten-grade 6: $9,082; grades 7-8: $9,916; and grades 9-12: $10,658. There is a one-time registration fee of $1,853 and annual facility fee, $463. Unless special arrangements are made with the school’s treasurer, tuition is payable at the beginning of each semester. (All fees are quoted in U.S. dollars-107Ą/$1.) Local business and government support for the Fukuoka International School is strong.

Fukuoka International School 18-50, Momochi 3-chome, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka, Japan 814-0006 Tel: 81-92-841-7601 Fax: 8l-92-84l-7602

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

For the avid jogger/runner, the Consulate is located next to beautiful Ohori Park, modeled after China’s famed West Lake in Hangzhou. Ohori Park has a specially paved two-kilometer jogging path along with bicycle and walking paths along the scenic lake. Rowboats are available for rental on the lake from spring to autumn. There are numerous road races and marathons held year around in Fukuoka and Kyushu. The October Fukuoka City Marathon attracts a large number of participants of all ages from the region.

Bowling is popular in Fukuoka along with ice and in-line skating. Swimming is also a popular pastime, with numerous facilities around the city. Swimming lessons for children and adults are offered year around at reasonable prices at facilities near the Consulate. Near the Consulate is a man-made beach facing Hakata Harbor. Hikers enjoy the trails at the Citizen’s Forest.

A full range of sports activities is offered in Fukuoka, particularly in the martial arts. The "budokan" or sports center located near the Consulate, offers kendo, judo, laido, karate, and other types of Asian martial arts courses.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Kyushu is noted as Japan’s leading center for porcelain and ceramic production. Imari and Arita, in nearby Saga Prefecture, are home to Japan’s most famous porcelain makers Imaemon and Kakiemon. There are numerous pottery areas and antique shops in and around Fukuoka City. The region also is noted for its historic and scenic spots. Fukuoka City has numerous excavation sites such as Korokan, an ancient site underscoring Fukuoka’s historic importance as a major trading center for the region. Nagasaki City is a well-known tourist destination, noted for its historic setting and tragic wartime experience. Kyushu is also famous for its "onsen," or hot spring. Yufuin and Beppu in neighboring Oita Prefecture, as well as Kumamoto and Kagoshima, are popular destinations. Hiking is another popular activity in the region.

The Fukuoka Dome, Japan’s largest retractable sports stadium, hosts international concerts, sports programs, and trade promotional events. The Daiei Hawks professional baseball team plays at the Dome. Fukuoka City is the center for the arts as well as shopping, Nagasaki hosts the Huis Ten Bosch Dutch theme park, Miyazaki has the world’s largest indoor swimming complex, and Kitakyushu has the Space World Amusement Park. All locations are accessible by train or car.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Fukuoka City hosts the spectacular annual Dontaku (May) and Yamakasa (July) festivals, which attract national attention. "Yatai" or outdoor food vendors, are also popular, serving a variety of local cuisine, including "Hakata ramen" noodles.

Current American films in English with Japanese subtitles attract large audiences. In April 1996, AMC opened a 13-theater complex in the new Canal City Hakata mall complex in downtown Fukuoka. Fukuoka is now a major stopping area for internationally known performers, since the opening of several large entertainment facilities. Jazz, country and western, western, and Japanese classical music concerts are popular in Fukuoka. Kumamoto hosts a major Country and Western music concert each October, "Country Gold," which attracts famous performers from the U.S. and Japan. In Fukuoka, there are also restaurants such as the Blue Note which feature live jazz and popular music. The November Sumo wrestling tournament also adds to Fukuoka’s visibility and appeal.

Fukuoka has a wide range of excellent Japanese and Western restaurants. Although more expensive than those restaurants in the U.S., the quality is high.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Opportunities for meeting Japanese from all walks of life are virtually unlimited. Fukuoka’s residents are noted in Japan as being friendly and hospitable to guests. Although growing, the foreign community is small, and a minimal knowledge of Japanese is essential.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Fukuoka is an extremely active post with the American officers engaged in a wide range of activities such as promoting trade events, assisting American companies looking for business opportunities, attending receptions and ceremonial events, delivering speeches, and representing the U.S. at seminars and special programs throughout the consular district. The Consulate hosts many annual events, including meetings with regional decision makers, large trade events, monthly trade seminars, the Independence Day reception, and frequent representational events to promote the full range of Mission goals. The Consulate also plays an important role in the city’s growing consular corps. Officers attend military functions at U.S. bases and Japanese Self-Defense Force facilities in the consular district. Officers are encouraged to host representational events.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The large number of invitations makes it impossible for the Consulate to accept and attend all events. Over the many years since its opening in 1952, the Consulate has established a positive and active image within the community and consular district. The Consulate attempts to be as responsive as possible to requests for assistance and advice.

All American officers and Foreign Service National staff make many officials calls on local officials, including governors and mayors, representatives of the various central government agencies, and business and academic leaders. We also introduce visiting American officials and company representatives to local representatives.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/13/2004 2:26 AM

Your household effects shipment should be shipped to Hakata (Fukuoka), Japan (port of discharge), using the most direct routing available. Each shipment should be marked and consigned as follows with an arrival cable notification to the Fukuoka Management Section:

For surface shipments (HHE, POV, etc.), mark as follows:

American Consulate, Fukuoka, Japan, for Employee (name) (port of discharge: Hakata) Consignee: American Consulate, Fukuoka, Japan 5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052 Japan Tel: (092) 751-9331

UAB shipments must be forwarded to the Fukuoka International Airport, Fukuoka, Japan.

For airfreight (UAB, etc.), mark as follows:

American Consulate, Fukuoka, Japan, for Employee (name) destination airport: Fukuoka International Airport) Consignee: American Consulate, Fukuoka, Japan 5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052 Tel: (092) 751-9331

There is no limitation on the size and weight of shipping vans and boxes that may be utilized for ocean shipment to post. However, those vans and boxes must be sturdily built to protect the contents from possible rough handling during transportation. Special shipping instructions:

The Government of Japan will not grant import clearance on POV shipments prior to the owner’s arrival at post. The shipment must be timed to arrive at post after the arrival of the owner. Firearms shipments to Japan are strictly prohibited. Shipping documents covering HHE and UAB shipments to post must include the packing or inventory list in duplicate. Note: the Consulate does not have storage facilities for excess household effects and cannot authorize local commercial storage.

Consulate personnel and their families may use the Embassy’s APO facility. The address is:

Name American Embassy (Fukuoka) Unit 45004, Box 242 APO AP 96337-5004

Consulate - Nagoya

Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Nagoya City is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and center of commerce, industry, and culture in central Japan (the Chubu Region). The city has over 2 million people, ranking fourth in population among Japan’s cities. It is located between Tokyo and Osaka and sits astride Japan’s major east-west highway and railway systems. Nagoya and the surrounding region make up an industrial powerhouse. Economic activity in this region is such that even if separated from the rest of Japan, it would still have one of the world’s largest economies. This is the center of Japan’s automobile and auto parts industries. The country’s largest carmaker, Toyota Motor Corporation, has its headquarters and virtually all of its Japan operations in Aichi and other car and truck manufacturers are either headquartered or have plant facilities in the region. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, along with other aerospace companies, are located in or near Nagoya. Other industries, ranging from machine tools to fine ceramics, are located here and form part of the Chubu Region’s vast economic base. Some of this manufacturing output is exported out of the Port of Nagoya, the busiest in export volume of all of the country’s ports. Nagoya Bay is large enough to accommodate some of the world’s largest ships; every year, about 38,000 ships enter the bay to dock at Nagoya’s port. In 1999, foreign trade volume in and out of all of the regional air and maritime ports was almost $142 billion.

Nagoya and its residents have long been associated with commerce and merchandising. Located along the historical transportation routes between eastern and western Japan (e.g., between Edo, or Tokyo, and Osaka), the town prospered from its trade with both regions. Among the important early regional industries were textiles, steel-making, and ceramics, traditional economic activities whose imprint is still evident today. The first of Japan’s Tokugawa shoguns, Tokugawa Ieyasu (who was from the area of Nagoya), recognized the town’s strategic importance in the early 17th century and built an imposing castle in its center. Ruled over first by one of his sons and then by other Tokugawa successors, Nagoya grew both in economic and political importance during the long, and virtually warfare-free, Tokugawa era. Over time, the city and the surrounding area became the commercial and industrial hub that it remains today. The castle built by the shogun, leveled along with the rest of the city during World War II, was rebuilt and remains the premier landmark in and symbol of the city.

Regional civic and business leaders are pushing ahead with several large-scale 21st century projects in and around Nagoya. Already in place is a giant new commercial development, JR Central Towers, which opened in downtown Nagoya over the city’s main train terminal in March 2000. The year 2005 looms large both as the deadline for completion of the new Central Japan International Airport and as the year the region will host the 2005 World Exposition. The airport is a $7.2 billion project to be built on landfill in Ise Bay about 35 kilometers south of Nagoya. Plans for the World Exposition (EXPO 2005) have been scaled back from the original conception but the project is still an enormous undertaking with a projected investment of about $1.4 billion by the Japanese government, local governments, and the private sector. The estimated number of visitors to the March through September EXPO is upwards of 18 million. The EXPO, which will have an environment-based theme, will be held on existing parkland near a forested area adjacent to Nagoya. There are also several huge highway and railway construction projects planned for the region. The most heavily trafficked highways between Nagoya and Tokyo (the "Tomei") and between Nagoya and Osaka (the "Meishin") both have new partner routes planned for construction early in this century. In addition, Nagoya-based Central Japan Railways is going ahead with development of the "Linear Chuo Shinkansen," a futuristic "maglev" (magnetic levitation) train that could run at speeds as high as 500 kilometers per hour, connecting Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 minutes.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

This post is formally known as the United States Consulate Nagoya. The Nagoya consular district comprises the three prefectures of Aichi, Mie, and Gifu, also known as "Tokai san ken," or Tokai three prefectures. Besides Nagoya, other major cities in the district include Toyohashi and Toyota (Aichi), Yokkaichi (Mie), and Gifu City (Gifu). The total population is almost 11 million. Over 2,000 U.S. citizens live in the three prefectures. Besides the American Consu-late, Nagoya hosts the South Korean and Brazilian Consulates General, and the Australian, British, and Canadian Consulates. There is also an economic/commercial office of the French embassy. The State of West Virginia has a representative office in Nagoya.

The post has three American officers and eight Japanese staff (there are also four part-time contract guards). The diplomatic title of all three U.S. officers is consul. In charge of the post is a State principal officer. Two Japanese staffs, an economic assistant and an administrative assistant, work directly with the principal officer. The public affairs officer is also the Director of the Nagoya American Center and the other State officer at post. The American Center’s staff includes a public affairs specialist, a public affairs program assistant, an IRC assistant, and an administrative assistant. The principal commercial officer is from the Department of Commerce and supervises a commercial specialist and a commercial assistant.

The post currently has two facilities, although plans are now being drawn up to merge the two, with the Consulate leaving its current location and shifting to the International Center Building that houses the American Center. The principal officer and principal commercial officer have their offices in the current Consulate, located in the Nishiki SIS Bldg., 6th Floor, 10-33 Nishiki 3-chome, Naka-ku, Nagoya. The telephone number is 052-203-4011. The Commerce Department staff can be reached by calling 052-203-4277. The Consulate’s fax number is 052-201-4612. The public affairs officer is responsible for USG public affairs, press, and cultural activities in the region. The American Center is located in the Nagoya International Center Building, about a 10-minute walk from the Consulate. The address is Nagoya Kokusai Center Building, 6th Floor, 47-1, Nagono l-chome, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya. The telephone number there is 052-581-8631, and the fax number is 052-581-3190. Both the Consulate and American Center are in downtown Nagoya and are within easy walking distance of major subway lines. Both have official vehicles but neither has a driver.

The post has a wide range of responsibilities and activities in Nagoya and the surrounding region. The principal officer, who reports directly to the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tokyo, is responsible for implementing the Mission Program Plan (MPP) in the region and is in charge of the administration and management of the post. Particular emphasis is placed at Consulate Nagoya on reporting on economic and business developments within the region. Following local political developments and trends is another important Consulate function. The post deals closely with local government officials, Japanese national government representatives in Nagoya, and business leaders in supporting U.S. commercial interests. Major projects such as those described above are, of course, of special interest to this post. Consulate officers are in regular contact with the resident American business community in Nagoya; the post works side by side with the American Chamber of Commerce (ACCJ) Chubu chapter which has its offices in Nagoya. All three U.S. officers frequently will be asked to participate in social functions and attendance at those is an important professional obligation. Organizations such as the Aichi Japan-America Society regularly host dinners and other events to which Consulate personnel are invited. In addition, the principal officer has extensive representational entertaining responsibilities.

The post carries out a variety of public affairs activities. Expert American speakers are invited under the Public Diplomacy Speaker Program to speak to Japanese policy makers in areas such as economics, security, environment, culture and society about current trends in the U.S. The International Visitors (IV) Program selects young Japanese leaders with only a limited knowledge of the U.S. and invites them to participate in month-long study tours of the U.S. Other public affairs activities include press relations, specifically press conferences held for visiting USG officials. The principal officer is also responsible for taking an active role in public diplomacy, with a regular schedule of speeches, meetings with the press, participation in seminars, etc.

Consular services for the Nagoya consular district are largely the responsibility of Consulate General Osaka. Consulate Nagoya does not issue visas for travel to the U.S. by foreign nationals nor passports to American citizens. Moreover, routine American Citizens Services such as notarials are only done at Nagoya during the monthly visit by a consular officer from ConGen Osaka. However, Nagoya does provide emergency services to American citizens. For instance, a Nagoya officer will make the first visit to an arrested American and report the case; thereafter, responsibility for the case reverts to Osaka. Consulate Nagoya can also provide a travel letter to a stranded American whose passport has been lost or stolen, but this is usually only in the case of an emergency. The Consulate also provides basic information and forms and refers callers to appropriate offices either at Embassy Tokyo or ConGen Osaka. All three U.S. officers share the duty officer responsibility, alternating in periods of about 1 month.

Virtually, all arrivals of newly assigned personnel to Japan will be at New Tokyo International Airport at Narita, about 35 miles outside of Tokyo. Personnel assigned to Nagoya and other constituent posts are normally given consultations at Embassy Tokyo en route to post, and are also provided with assistance with onward travel arrangements. There is an important and quite extensive check-in procedure that must be done at Embassy Tokyo. You will be met if you notify the Embassy in advance of arrival, but the arrival date must be on a non-holiday weekday. To ensure that you are met you should notify the Embassy of your arrival well in advance, providing details about the number of travelers and any special requirements (such as pets). Follow-on travel to Nagoya from Tokyo by Shinkansen takes less than 2 hours. Should your travel not include Tokyo consultations or should those be deferred for some reason, Nagoya International Airport does have direct flights that come in from the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. Continental, Delta, and Northwest all have offices in Nagoya. Whether you are coming into Nagoya from Tokyo or, in rare cases, directly from the U.S., please let the Embassy and the Consulate know what your plans are as far in advance as possible.

Employees should also coordinate HHE and airfreight shipments through Embassy Tokyo. The Consulate’s administrative assistant will coordinate efforts with the Embassy’s Transportation Section to get employees’ effects through customs and delivered as quickly as possible.

U.S. officers at Consulate Nagoya may use Embassy Tokyo’s APO facility. All letters, magazines, and packages should be sent through the Tokyo APO; this mail is forwarded in the daily unclassified pouch to Nagoya. The reverse is also true: letters and packages are sent to the Embassy from Nagoya every day for shipment via APO to the U.S. Stamps can be obtained via the Embassy’s APO. Delivery time for mail sent via APO is 7-10 days. The address is:

Name U.S. Consulate Nagoya Unit 45004, Box 280 APO AP 96337 5004

The Consulate’s administrative assistant is able to cash checks for Consulate personnel but there are restrictions based on the limited amount of cash on hand.

Employment opportunities for spouses are limited primarily to English teaching jobs.

Housing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

All U.S. staff assigned to Consulate Nagoya have USG-leased and furnished quarters. Information about the leased properties is current as of November 2000 but, of course, is subject to change.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The principal officer lives in a Western-style house that was completed in 2000. It is located in the eastern part of the city about 40 minutes away from the Consulate by car. The subway ride with the 10-minute walk to the subway stop and the short walk to the Consulate at the other end is also about 40 minutes. The Nagoya International School (see p. 37) bus pick-up point is very near the subway station. The two-story house has a living room, separate dining room, den and/or guestroom (with bath), kitchen, and guest bathroom downstairs. The refrigerator and stove are U.S.-made. The house comes equipped with china and tableware for representational entertaining. Small appliances such as a microwave ovens and mixers are not provided. Downstairs there is also a two-car garage that can be accessed through the kitchen. There is a medium-sized freezer and a smaller-scale refrigerator in the garage. There are four bedrooms upstairs. The master bedroom has its own bath along with two walk-in closets. The second floor has another bathroom. There is also a laundry room (more accurately, a laundry closet) with a U.S.-sized washer/dryer arrangement. The house has high-tech heating and cooling systems. The backyard is very large by Japanese standards and has a concrete and brick patio area with lawn beyond. There is a high steel fence along part of the front and all around the sides and back of the property, with one locked gate to one side of the house. Television service to the house is by cable; should the occupant wish to do so, the cable system can be connected to CNN, BBC, Cartoon Network, and other English-language programming. The morning English-language edition of a major Japanese newspaper is delivered to the house. Both the cable hook-up and the newspaper are at the expense of the occupant.

The public affairs officer’s home is located in an old established residential area in the eastern part of Nagoya about 45 minutes away from the American Center either by car or subway. There are two subway stops about 10-15 minutes away from the apartment. The apartment is a comfortable three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath Western-style unit that overlooks a neighbor’s splendid Japanese garden. One additional large room serves as the living room with a sectioned-off area for a dining room table and buffet. There are two good-sized storage closets, and each bedroom has adequate closet space. Although the refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer are U.S.-made, the stove and dishwasher are Japanese-made and are small compared to American appliances. Small appliances as in the Consul’s home, are not provided. There are heating and cooling units in each room. There is one covered, assigned parking space in the basement of the building.

The principal commercial officer lives in a modern, spacious three-bedroom apartment located in a residential neighborhood approximately 40 minutes away from post by subway (the closest subway is a 7-minute walk). The apartment comes equipped with a full kitchen, washer and dryer. Parking for one vehicle is provided in a garage under the building. Although furnished with representational-grade items, the apartment does not come with china and tableware for entertaining.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Electricity in Nagoya is 100v, 60-cycles, so many U.S.-made electric appliances can be used without adjustment. However, televisions, radios, VCRs, and clocks intended for use in the U.S. will not work well in this area because of frequency and/or timing problems. A VCR, for instance, might work for playback only but not record well because the timing would be askew. Electric sockets are compatible with regular two-prong, U.S. plugs, but three-prong sockets with grounding are rare.

Food Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Shopping for groceries and other goods in Japan follows a simple rule of thumb: you can get most anything you want if you are willing to pay for it. One important factor in the cost of living for USG personnel in Nagoya is that the long distance to Embassy and U.S. military facilities makes living in Chubu much more expensive than at posts with USG facilities nearby.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Nagoya, like all large Japanese cities, has world-class department stores, specialty food shops selling an ample selection of imported goods, wine and liquor stores, and fashionable boutiques. Those are all predictably expensive. But Nagoya also offers less costly shops that may be in less convenient locations or provide a somewhat lower standard of packaging or presentation but still offer high-quality goods. Also, large, lower-cost, high-volume retailers, American stores among them, are increasingly in evidence in the Nagoya area and these firms are adding to the variety of goods sold and increasing price competition. In short, the key to getting the most for your money in Nagoya, as elsewhere, is to know where to look; for that purpose, the Consulate is putting together a booklet with information about grocery stores, restaurants, and other outlets for incoming personnel.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM Nagoya’s only English-speaking school is the Nagoya International School (NIS), which offers a U.S.-based education program. The school has over 300 students in kindergarten through grade 12 college preparatory curriculum. The post educational allowance covers tuition and some other educational expenses. NIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A large proportion of the faculty has advanced degrees. Facilities dating back from the later ’60s and early ’70s are well-maintained. A new gymnasium and arts center was dedicated in 1999. The school’s location is about 30 minutes from the eastern part of the city where the principal officer lives and about 45 minutes from the more central area where the two other American officers have their homes. Both areas are served by buses operated by the school. The principal officer serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Living in Nagoya. For U.S. officials assigned to Japan, Nagoya provides an especially strong encounter with the Japanese and their way of life. Consulate Nagoya personnel live in Japanese neighborhoods, not in a compound with other Americans. Contacts in and around Nagoya are less likely to speak English, so Japanese language skills are going to be tested every day. Local and regional news, whether on television or radio or in the regional newspaper, is going to be in Japanese, further testing language skills. The lack of any Embassy commissary or U.S. military bases in the area (the nearest base is about 4 hours away by car) means that Consulate personnel are going to encounter more Japanese and fewer Americans in the daily give-and-take of shopping and locating services.

Among the best features of life in Nagoya are the city’s own cultural attractions, its location in the midst of some of Japan’s greatest historic sites, and its natural setting with both seacoast and mountains nearby. Few of the ancient temples and shrines that once dotted the city exist any longer but those that do, such as Atsuta Shrine, are well worth a visit. Tokugawa Ieyasu, who had such an important role in the city’s history, and his descendants are featured in the Tokugawa Museum, a splendid collection of weapons, armor, artworks, and other artifacts from that era in Japanese history. Tokugawa’s castle, restored in the 1950s, is a great structure that visitors can enter and explore inside. The Nagoya Boston Museum has an impressive collection of treasures from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome along with more modern works of art on display; the works are on long-term loan from the Boston Museum. The new Aichi Performing Arts Center is a huge complex with a concert hall, theaters, and museum space. The city also has numerous parks, among which is Higashiyama Koen, with a beautiful Japanese garden as well as a great zoo.

Using Nagoya as a base, some of Japan’s greatest historic sites are within easy reach. Kyoto, for instance, is about an hour and a half away by car and 45 minutes away by train, a fairly easy day trip. Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, among the best-known and most beautiful of Japan’s shrines, can also be reached in less than 2 hours. Takayama in Gifu Prefecture, where an ancient part of city remains intact and where traditional Japanese craft-making is still preserved, is probably too far for a day trip but can easily be visited in a weekend. There are also old post towns set in the mountains that are around Nagoya to the north and west. The mountains are an attraction themselves; some of Japan’s tallest peaks are not far from Nagoya, making hiking and skiing easy to do for those posted here. If you want to ski, bring your boots, clothes, and other equipment; there are plenty of ski slopes in the nearby mountains.

Nagoya has a well-deserved reputation for being very hot and humid in the summer. Winters are cool to cold, but are milder with each passing year. These days it snows only rarely, perhaps one snowfall in Nagoya itself each winter.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

Nagoya has a number of quality hospitals with English-speaking personnel. There are a number of U.S.-trained doctors and dentists who are well-acquainted with the Consulate and its staff and are very helpful. There are also English-speaking druggists.

Post can provide any incoming personnel or prospective bidder more detailed information on both educational and medical issues upon request.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 1/19/2005 10:47 PM

Northwest and United Airlines offer several flights daily from the U.S. to Tokyo. American, Delta, and Continental Airlines also provide service. Flight time varies from 9 to 14 hours, depending on the route. In notifying the Embassy and other posts of your arrival time, do not fail to consider the international date line. Also, you should plan your routing to comply with required contract carrier schedules.

All international flights (except China Airlines, which operates between Japan and Taiwan out of Haneda) arrive and depart from the Tokyo International Airport at Narita. American airlines, Northwest and United are served at terminal 1. Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines are served at Terminal 2. Clearance at Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) is fast and courteous. Personnel arriving on initial assignment to post may be provided transportation from the Tokyo International Airport if they arrive on workdays and during regular work hours. Please advise the Embassy as soon as your arrival plans are firm. However, only one vehicle trip from Narita to downtown Tokyo is authorized per family. Personnel on temporary duty and other official visitors are expected to use public transportation facilities because of the time and costs involved in providing official transportation to and from downtown Tokyo. Public transportation via airport limousine bus is recommended; it can be taken to a number of downtown hotels, including the Okura and ANA which are close to the Embassy and the housing compound, or to the Tokyo City Air Terminal (TCAT). Train routing is complicated and taxi fares are prohibitive. Persons using public transportation facilities into Tokyo are encouraged to limit accompanying baggage to two pieces plus one carry-on in view of limited baggage space available on the carriers.

Advise the Management Minister-Counselor, Unit 45003, P.O. Box 209, APO AP 96337, of travel plans.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 1/19/2005 11:10 PM

Consign airfreight (UAB), seafreight (HHE) and Personally Owned Vehicles (POV) to the post of destination, marked "For (employee’s name)." The posts in Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Naha handle the clearance of consignments to those posts. Send to the posts concerned packing lists and airway bill/ocean bill of lading.

Consign UAB, HHE and personally owned vehicles (POV) as follows:

For Tokyo: American Embassy (Employee’s name) Tokyo, Japan Port of Discharge for HHE and POV: YokohamaTokyo, Japan Airport of Destination for UAB: New Tokyo International Airport (Narita)

For Sapporo: American Consulate General (Employee’s name) Sapporo, Japan Port of Discharge for HHE and POV: Tomakomai

Airport of destination for UAB: Shin Chitose Airport


American Embassy

Tokyo, Japan

For (Employee’s name) American Consulate General

Sapporo, Japan Port of Discharge for HHE and POV: Yokohama

For Osaka-Kobe: American Consulate General (Employee’s name) Osaka-Kobe Port of Discharge for HHE and POV: Kobe

Airport of Destination: Kansai International Airport

For Fukuoka: American Consulate (Employee’s name) Fukuoka, Japan Port of Discharge for HHE and POV: Hakata

Airport of Destination for UAB: Fukuoka International Airport

For Naha: American Consulate General (Employee’s name) Naha, Okinawa Port of Discharge for HHE and POV: Naha

Airport of Destination for UAB: Naha Airport

For Nagoya: American Consulate (Employee’s name) Nagoya, Japan Port of Discharge: Nagoya

Airport of Destination for UAB: Nagoya

HHE and UAB shipments can be cleared through customs prior to the owner’s arrival at post. However, since storage facilities at post are limited, shipment of both UAB and HHE should be timed to arrive at post one week to 10 days prior to the traveler's arrival at post.

It is essential that you time the shipment of personally owned vehicles to arrive at post at least three to four weeks after your arrival in Japan, since vehicles cannot be cleared until the owner is physically present in the country and obtains a Japanese Driver's License.

Forward shipping information, including original bills of lading on any surface shipments (HHE and vehicles) together with inventory lists by the fastest means possible to the Transportation Unit of the General Services Office, American Embassy, Tokyo (or to the principal officer at Naha, Osaka-Kobe, Nagoya, and Fukuoka) in order to avoid costly demurrage charges at the port of discharge in Japan.

The ports can handle both containerized and break bulk shipments; no restrictions are imposed on size or weight. Average transit time from U.S. to Japan for air freight is 7–10 days; for surface shipments to the port of Yokohama, 1 month. After the arrival of shipment, it takes about a week to 10 days to clear the shipments under diplomatic procedures.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

All personnel assigned to the Mission and their accompanying dependents must have appropriate visas for entry. Failure to comply with this request may result in denial of entry or a trip out of Japan, at the employee’s personal expense, in order to adjust visa status. At best, the employee will be forced to make a long, tedious return trip to the airport to arrange proper documentation. Official visitors also require visas; those arriving without proper visas usually are subjected to the same follow-up procedure, and the Embassy can give no assurance that this procedure will not be followed even if the time in country is limited to fewer than 72 hours. Personnel arriving from the U.S. need no special immunizations. Those arriving directly from other areas of the world must make certain they have appropriate inoculations to enter Japan. The airline or transportation office at your point of departure will have this information.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 1/18/2005 0:25 AM

Effective November 6, 2004, the procedure of impotation of dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks has changed. The quarantine time will be reduced from current levels (14 days) to only 12 hours, providing the additional requirements and documentation have been met. Without the required documents, the maximum quarantine time can be 180 days. Animal quarantine service (AQS) officials advise that the entire process can take up to 6 months to complete. (Note: If you are importing pets from designated areas/countries, there may be different requirements to those listed in this report.)

The basic steps for importing accompanied pets are:

1. Implant a microchip for identification of the pets.

2. Get two rabies shots within the effective interval.

3. Get a blood test after the second rabies shot.

4. Make advance notification of the pet importation to AQS no later than 40 days prior to arrival. The form for advance notification will be available through the AWS website beginning January 2005.

5. The pet must stay in the exporting country at least 180 days but no more than 2 years after the date of blood sampling.

6. Upon arrival, submit the following documents to AQS:

A. Health Certificate

B. Two Rabies Vaccination Certificates.

C. Advance Notification Acknowledgement sent from AQS.

D. Import Quarantine Application Form.

When importing pets as unaccompanied cargo, the steps include:

1. Submit the documentation the same as accompanied pets. (Cargo importation required more time and expense.)

2. The owner of the pet(s) is not required to be present in order to apply for quarantine inspection. A proxy can make the application.

3. The Narita Quarantine Service charges a detention fee of approximately JPY. 3,000 per day or more depending on size for all pets, which includes basic boarding, food, and care for the pet.

4. Other costs may be incurred for transportation fees, kennel customs clearances, import tax, and a proxy charge depending on the pet and other circumstances.

Note: It is recommended that the pets be imported accompanied, as the process seems to be easier.

MAFF Grace period. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) has granted a grace period for pets aged 10 months or older. From November 6, 2004 to June 6, 2005, these pets may be imported using either the existing requirements or the new requirements. Starting June 7, 2005, all pets must follow the new requirements.

Employees wishing to import a pet into Japan should visit the website: for detailed information. Employees may also contact the animal quarantine office at Narita at 81-476-32-6664; fax +81-476-30-3011.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 1/18/2005 0:22 AM

Firearms and Ammunition

Local law prohibits the purchase and/or importation of personally owned firearms. Therefore, post will neither approve, endorse nor sanction the importation of personally owned firearms or ammunition into Japan by pouch, or in an employee’s household effects.

Prohibited Articles

The following articles are prohibited entry by the Japanese Law.

-Opium, narcotics, drugs and utensils for opium smoking, stimulants (including Vicks Inhalers and Sudafed), pychotropic substances (excluding those designated by an ordinance of the Ministry of Health and Walfare)

-Counterfeit, altered, or imitated coins, paper money, banknotes, or securities

-Books, drawings, carvings, and any other articles which injures public security or morals (obscene or immoral materials, i.e., Pornography)

-Articles which infrings upon rights for patents, utility-models, designs, trademarks, copyrights, neighboring rights, or layout-design of integrated circuits

-Firearms (pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc.) ammunition (bullets) thereof, and/or firearm parts.

Shipment of Medications

For shipping of your personal medications, you are encouraged to utilize the APO postal system or State Department pouch mail.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

The unit of currency in Japan is the yen. Bills are in denominations of Ą10,000, Ą1,000. Coins are Ą500, Ą100, Ą50, Ą10 and Ą1. Japanese currency floats on international markets so exchange rates can vary dramatically. In calendar year 2000, the exchange rate has averaged about Ą107 to the U.S. dollar.

Japan uses the metric system of weights and measures

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM


U.S. Government personnel and dependents are not subject to Japanese income tax on salary or allowances received from the U.S. Government or other income generated outside Japan. Income received from employment within Japan is, however, subject to Japanese income tax. Nondiplomatic personnel, including administrative and technical staff of the Embassy and consular posts, must pay fees for hunting licenses and drivers licenses. U.S. Government personnel in Japan who are not attached to the Embassy or consular posts are subject to road tax, weight tax, and inspection fees for registration and operation of personally owned vehicles as well.

Embassy policy is to limit the importation of personal property to quantities adequate for the personal use of the employee and accompanying dependents. Customs import regulations require that for a minimum of 2 years, any personal effects imported must be retained for the purpose intended.

The Ministry will authorize qualified personnel (i.e., diplomatic and consular staff plus administrative and technical staff) the tax-free importation of HHE, UAB and a POV during their tour of duty in Japan. Such importation must take place within 6 months after arrival at post; however, diplomatic and consular personnel are exempted from this 6-month time limitation.

Cars imported by employees can be sold only after they have been registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2 years. Exceptions are made only when emergency circumstances warrant.

Address requests for any additional information concerning these matters to the administrative minister-counselor at the Embassy.


The Embassy cashier provides accommodation exchange services at the cashier’s office. The service is provided for the convenience of U.S. Government employees and for dependents for whom a power of attorney is on file. Accommodation exchange is provided only for Japanese yen and U.S. dollars. For those leaving post, the cashier provides an opportunity to sell back excess Japanese yen.

A complete range of banking services is available. U.S. currency is available at the Embassy cashier, the military banking facility at the New Sanno Hotel, and at several local banks. Travelers checks are available at the American Express office at the Embassy for a small fee.

Most personnel maintain a dollar checking account at a U.S. bank. They have their salary deposited into the account by electronic fund transfer (EFT). Personnel may cash checks with the Embassy cashier.

Dependent spouses who find employment outside the Embassy may set up a yen account. Many companies use EFT to pay employees while others pay in check or cash. Bank account charges are nominal.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 7/31/2001 6:00 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Challenges and Opportunities in United States-Japan Relations. Report of the United States-Japan Advisory Commission. GPO, 1984.

Christopher, Robert C. The Japanese Mind.

De Mente, Boye L. Japan Made Easy. Passport Books: 1990.

De Mente, Boye L. The Kata Factor. Phoenix Books/Publishers.

Reischauer, Edwin O. The Japanese. Harvard University Press, 1978.

Ward Robert E. Japan’s Political System. Prentice-Hall Inc., 1978.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 1/19/2005 11:01 PM

The following holidays are typically observed by the U.S. Mission and the dates shown below may change:

New Year's Day January 1 Adult's Day January 10 Martin Luther King's Birthday January 17 National Foundation Day February 11 Washington's Birthday February 21

Greenery Day April 29 Constitution Day May 3 Memorial Day May 30 Independence Day July 4 Marine Day July 18 Labor Day September 5 Respect for the Aged Day September 19 Autumnal Equinox Day September 24 Columbus Day October 10 Culture Day November 3 Veterans' Day November 11 Thanksgiving Day November 24 Labor Thanksgiving Day November 23 Emperor's Birthday December 23 Christmas Day December 25

Japanese holidays that fall on Sunday are observed on Monday. Please see current

Admin Notice for updated schedule of holidays.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
Share |