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Gov't to create international emergency SMS for Japanese nationals abroad


Following the recent hostage incident in which members of ISIS took two Japanese nationals hostage and executed them, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that it will use an international emergency SMS for Japanese nationals abroad to inform them of potential threats.

The ministry said individuals who register with the service will be sent an emergency SMS as soon as any national disaster, terror threat, or other danger is identified, TV Asahi reported Saturday. If they need help, they will be asked to send back an alert. Once security has been restored, users will receive a second message informing them that the danger has passed.

Registration for Asia, the Middle East and North America where a large number of Japanese nationals reside is expected to begin sometime this week. Safety information will be made available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' "Safety Abroad" home page which will also be formatted for optimal smartphone use by the end of next month.

The ministry also announced that along with increased numbers of guards at schools across Japan, security cameras and other safety measures will be bolstered in the weeks and months to come.

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1 ( +1 / -0 )

E.T., phone home!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

trinklets2: "Not really equating Muslims with terrorism but the reality is there."

You clearly were, as quoted in my first comment, and continue to do so with 'the reality' and with: "Once they're called, they just couldn't say no."

No, Trinklets, the REALITY is that hatred begets hatred, and you should not hate an entire quarter of the world's population for the acts of a very, very few -- and far less than Christians who have killed far more, I might add. Don't blame all Muslims for the acts of a few radical Islamists. They are no different than radical Christians or anyone of any other believe or non-belief who scream for the blood of an entire religion and way of life. You now have Muslims in Jordan, the UAE, Syria, and elsewhere demanding an end to IS, and that wouldn't be the case if "all Muslims were terrorists" or if they were all the same, would it?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

trinklets2: "Not really equating Muslims with terrorism but the reality is there. Once they're called, they just couldn't say no."

Yes, you were really equating the two, and you do it again here. That's one reason why the hatred exists -- blind hatred and bigotry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not really equating Muslims with terrorism but the reality is there. Once they're called, they just couldn't say no.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

trinklets2: "Act only when terrorism is on Japanese soil? Not that pessimistic, but the number of Muslims..."

Well, you see, your problem isn't pessimism, it's the automatic linking in your mind of "terrorism" with "Muslims" when the biggest acts of terrorism committed in Japan have been by Japanese. The "call for jihad" could just as easily come from and for non-Muslims as Muslims, and it's far, FAR more likely to be committed by someone born and raised here, in fact.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

If Japan is going down a path of aping (or is it Abe-ing) American policy, it probably is a good idea for Japanese to use American State Department Consular travel advisory website, which is travel.state.gov, as a starting point.

If Japan MOFA does not have a system already in play, maybe it should be investigated for incompetence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Act only when terrorism is on Japanese soil? Not that pessimistic, but the number of Muslims here in Japan might be harboring one or two with radical mind set and could just be waiting for the call to jihad. I just guess even if they've been changed into a berliever of peaceful islamic beliefs, they just couldn't say no when called as they'd be afraid of a backlash on their relatives back home.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The world is so scary. Better just stay home. Then, nothing will happen. That's a happy life indeed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It has to be realized that this is more a piece of "socio-political theater" than actually something constructive. As with many other "outside the box" situations that happen in Japan (Aum, natural disasters, etc.), this has more to do with the government appearing to be in control than actually being in control. Moreover, the population at large expects such theater to occur, even if it isn't that practical.

Moreover, I believe this is the second or third time such a system has been proposed. Did something come up last year when those Japanese engineers ended up as hostages in North Africa?

Finally, there is definitely a strand related to bureaucratic power here. Events like those that happened recently allow the faceless mandarins down in Kasumigaseki to ask for additional budgets for schemes like this. On the other hand of course, Japanese diplomats overseas will hate such a system because as somebody pointed out above, it will be open to abuse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Passports should not be revoked because people want to travel (to dangerous places).

I agree, but only if the people agree that the Japanese government is not under a responsibility to rescue them, ransom them, or adjust their national strategy for them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's nothing wrong with giving information to people to be careful, especially if it's about places not to go due to current tensions, natural disaster, and what not. But given the amount of false alarms here or late announcements, I'd be wary. Plus, since the focus of these alerts seems to be about national disasters and terror threats when the nation has a hard enough time deciding what's an actual threat (ex. canceling sports events in Qatar because of what happened to Yukawa and Goto) could result in a whole lot of unnecessary fear and panic in a population that often cancels tours or what have you if an accident occurs in or en route to their target destination.

An "Abe has just made more provocative promises! beware!" could be useful, though.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

If people have a telephone, they can call someone or send a message to a friend and ask them to contact the local embassy or consulate. That is probably more efficient than an SMS top a government organisation.

Japanese embassies and consulates could also add, "If you have been kidnapped, press 9" on their phone answering system.

Noriyosan73, the journalist was a good man who tried to inform people about the horros of war. He was far from selfish. He cared for other. He risked and lost his life trying to save Yukawa. If he is selfish, so are firemen who lose their lives in fires and doctors and nurses who risk getting ebola. Revoking passports to prevent people travelling to countries is not something that countries that claim their citizens are free should do. America banned travel to Cuba, Passports should not be revoked because people want to travel. It is their choice. Some Japanese will just be the unlucky ones who are robbed, drugged, scammed or framed by the police in another country. Every country, and that includes even Japan, has its scammers targetting tourists.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan already does sms. In Sydney siege by 10.15am Japan embacy Australia sent out an alert re Sydney siege. Siege started at 9.35am.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone who goes to any country that is considered part of an unfriendly group should have his or her passport revoked. Nobody should travel under the assumption that his or her country's constitution provisions applies in any other country. Go to Syria and get the "story of the century," but know that the Japanese government is not going to pay for the release. The journalist who went to Syria and were decapitated were selfish people. The family members lost a loved one just for some 3 minute story on the news. The consulates in the USA already sent out warning to not travel to Syria and other countries. It is a personal decision to ignore the government's warning and a personal decision to suffer the consequences.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

they inform you about potential threats, you wont be able to answer to this number, i guess. So no there will be no "I can't see the flag of my tour leader". But i doubt it would have changed the fate of yukawa and goto!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

NHK, the govt broadcaster, reported details of the Asian Tsunami, the worst natural disaster of our times, one day late. The reason was because it needed confirmed info from the Japanese metereological agency, as the foreign agencies -- which WERE reporting in real time -- are naturally untrustworthy, being foreign and all, and the disaster struck on the weekend, when the agency wonks were off.

So, yeah, this isn't a very good idea, unless the wonks actually change their attitudes and work habits.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Let me git this straight. You git a txt on ur cell informing you of potential danger. Then, if you need help you send out an alert to the Ministry? Then what? seal team 6 to tha rescue? Gimee a break.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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