Understanding what your embassy in Japan can do for you is important, if you get in trouble or just need some support then it can be incredibly useful to know what support is available. It’s also important to know where it is.
The embassy is essentially your countries presence in Japan. It hosts your countries ambassador to Japan and has staff that speak both Japanese and your countries language (in this case English). They offer a range of services and understanding what these are is rather useful, here’s a general list of what your embassy should be able to offer you.
First and foremost, it’s useful to know where your embassy is because if you lose your passport, have a bad accident or get into trouble they’ll be the first that are able to help you sort out any paperwork and make sure you’re okay.
Firstly, your passport, one of the most important items that you possess. It’s also a scary thing to lose or have stolen. If you do happen to lose it then go straight to the police and then the embassy, they’ll be able to issue you with an emergency travel document if you are travelling within the next three weeks. If you’ve got longer then they’ll be able to get you a new passport issued by them.
Next up, is some general emergency advice. If you’re unsure where to seek medical help, or if you need legal help then the embassy can advise you on the best places to get English speaking support. On the most part though it’s important to remember that they won’t represent you legally, they’ll just point you to the right place.
Finally, if you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing help during a major national emergency such as an earthquake, then your embassy is the place to either go or contact. They have a lot of experience in supporting their own citizens in this sort of time of need. They’ll be able to help transport you somewhere safe and make sure that your family and friends know what is happening.
As already mentioned, your embassy is one of the best places to go for advice (outside of us of course) when it comes to legal or medical issues outside of general Japanese services. Further to this they also offer advice on international driving licenses, divorce, bringing pets into the country and tax concerns that you may have when dealing with tax across two countries.
Did you know that many embassies offer cultural programmes for cross-country relations that are often held at the embassy or run by it to encourage positive foreign relations. There’s often an interesting range of activities available so it’s worth checking out to see if there’s something that interests you.
Also, did you know that some embassies are able to officiate weddings or civil partnerships? It’d certainly be a different location to have your wedding.
They can also notarize official documents or copies of official documents. This is a particularly useful service if you’re also looking at getting business support. If you’re not sure where to start with international business or need advice on how to get things set up, then the embassy can be an incredibly useful place to start looking. They often offer international relations events to encourage trade between countries so it’s a good opportunity for networking.
Please be aware that many embassies will close along with the Japanese national holidays so not all services will be available. It’s easy enough to check these online before you go and often emergency services will be available out of hours.
If you get stuck here are the details for the US/UK and Australian Embassies in Japan
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 Japan
No 1 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Fax: (+81) (3) 5275-3164
Fax – Consular assistance for British nationals: +(81) (3) 5275 0346
2-1-14 Mita, Minato-ku
Remember that understanding the services that your embassy in Japan can offer is incredibly useful and will save you a lot of stress in the long term.
For more useful tips about life in Japan keep following our Go! Go! Nihon blog.