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Welcome to the November 2009 ACS newsletter!

To subscribe to the ACS Newsletter (it's free), just go to our website and enter your email address.

Here are the topics for this month

Services

Americans advised to stay away from Roppongi clubs

The U.S. Embassy continues to recommend that American citizens avoid frequenting bars and clubs in the Roppongi area of Tokyo due to drink-spiking incidents.

The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reliable reports of U.S. citizens being drugged in Roppongi-area bars. Most reports indicate that the victim unknowingly drinks a beverage that has been secretly mixed with a drug that renders the victim unconscious or stuporous for several hours, during which time large charges are fraudulently billed to the victim, sums of money are charged to the victim’s credit card, or the card is stolen. Victims sometimes regain consciousness in the bar or club, while at other times the victim awakens on the street. Assaults on Americans have also been reported in connection with drink-spiking.

The Embassy issued a warden message on July 10, 2009.


While in Japan, carry your passport or alien registration at all times

All Americans in Japan, whether visitors or permanent residents, are reminded that Japan's Immigration Control Act requires all foreigners 16 years old and older to carry their passport or alien registration card with them at all times. Foreign residents in Japan must present these identity documents upon request from an authorized immigration official or police officer.

Recently, the Embassy has been notified of Americans being detained by police for not carrying these documents. Permanent residents in possession of an alien registration card are not required to also carry their passport, but visitors without the card need to carry their passport. A foreign national who does not obey this requirement will face criminal penalty under Article 76 of the Immigration Control Act, or possibly an administrative penalty under Article 77-2 of the act.


Preparing for Influenza A (H1N1) and the Upcoming Flu Season

H1N1 vaccinations of medical professionals have begun in Japan, with other high priority risk groups to be vaccinated later (pregnant women, young children, parents of infants, elderly, etc.). Foreign residents are eligible to receive vaccine through the Japanese health system as long as they fall into the designated priority groups. Those who wish to be inoculated should contact their local municipal public health offices to inquire about vaccination schedules and locations. Specific vaccination dates and locations may not yet be available in all prefectures or municipalities.

For regional information in English, contact the call centers for foreigners set up by prefectures during business hours. Tokyo residents can call Metropolitan Medical Institution Information at (03) 5285-8181. Elsewhere in the Kanto region, contact (045) 314-9917 in Kanagawa, (043) 297-2966 in Chiba and (048) 833-3296 in Saitama. Kyoto residents should call (075) 342-0088, and Osaka residents (06) 6773-6533. For advice in Fukuoka, contact (092) 725-9200.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is planning to start up a phone line for vaccine-related information in English by the end of this month. For online information on the vaccine, visit the health ministry's Web site. The health ministry's call center for consultation about H1N1 in Japanese is (03) 3501-9031.

Vaccination information for Tokyo area residents only:

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced that inoculations will start on November 9 for the following priority groups. The only vaccine available from Nov. 9–16 contains a preserving agent called Thimerosal:

After November 16, vaccines without a preserving agent will be available for:

The schedule of vaccinations for people in other priority groups will be announced at a later date. Other priority groups include:

People in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government area who are in a priority group and who are interested in being vaccinated should contact their primary care physician to make a vaccination appointment. If you don't have a primary care physician, check with city government or ward office health officials about designated hospitals which will be administering vaccinations.

For details in Japanese see the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Press Release dated October 28, 2009.

Everyone is encouraged to review their flu preparedness planning. Visit www.flu.gov to make sure you are ready, learn how you can help promote public awareness, and learn what steps you can take to prepare and do your part to mitigate the effects of H1N1.

The State Department also has updated information available at http://travel.state.gov.


Driving in Japan

Americans cannot drive in Japan with only a U.S. driver’s license. Persons found driving in Japan without a legal license are subject to fines, arrest and possible deportation. Please review our website for more information.


Upcoming Holidays and ACS Office Closures
Culture DayTuesday, Nov. 3
Veterans DayWednesday, Nov. 11
Labor Thanksgiving DayMonday, Nov. 23
Thanksgiving DayThursday, Nov. 26

In Tokyo, the American Citizen Services Section will be open for emergency services only on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 12-13, 2009. Tokyo ACS will resume normal appointment operations on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.

A full list of all of our holiday closings is available online here.

American citizens who require emergency assistance during holidays should contact the office serving their part of Japan, a list of which is available online here.

To view the business hours for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and all of the U.S. Consulates in Japan, please check here.


Make an appointment online for your visit to the ACS section

The American Citizen Services section in Tokyo now provides all non-emergency services on an appointment-only basis. The Embassy is unable to accommodate walk-ins.

Click here to make your appointment.

Appointments are needed for all Passport services, Consular Report of Birth applications, notary services, and Federal Benefits services.

As always, no appointments are necessary for emergency services.

Passport services are offered Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. – 12 noon and on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2–4 p.m.

Consular Report of Birth services are offered Monday through Friday from 10–11 a.m. and on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2–2:30 p.m.

Notary services are offered Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. – 12 noon.

Federal Benefits services continue to be offered on an appointment-only basis. Please see our Federal Benefits pages for appointment details.

The ACS section branch in Tokyo is closed on Wednesday afternoons.

This announcement does not affect U.S. Consulates elsewhere in Japan. For information on operating hours and ACS services provided by Consulates in Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka-Kobe, Fukuoka, and Naha, please see their individual websites on the U.S. Embassy website.


Immigrant Visa applicants are reminded only panel docs can do medical exam

All Immigrant Visa applicants are reminded that the only medical exams authorized are from our panel physicians here in Japan. Please click here for more details.


Mailing of Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad

Tokyo ACS now requires all passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) applicants to submit an LetterPack 500 envelope or a self-addressed, stamped envelope with their passport or CRBA applications. These envelopes will be used to mail your passports and CRBAs back to you. Both passports and CRBAs will fit into an LetterPack envelope. If you provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope for returning a CRBA, it must be at least 30 x 24 cm (width x length) to accommodate the A4-size CRBA certificate.

LetterPack envelopes cost only 500 yen and can be purchased at any post office in Japan. They are also available for purchase at the Lawson's convenience store located directly across from the U.S. Embassy. LetterPack envelopes are a quick, reliable, and secure method of mailing, and envelopes are tracked from sender to receiver.

Tokyo ACS regrets that we cannot phone customers for pickup of their passports and other documents at the U.S. Embassy except in emergency circumstances. Please note that this applies only to Embassy Tokyo and not to the U.S. Consulates elsewhere in Japan.


Complete your U.S. Passport Application Online Prior to Coming to the Embassy

Effective immediately, when applying for a passport at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the American Citizen Services (ACS) Branch asks that all applicants utilize the online Passport Application Wizard and print (single-sided only) the completed passport application prior to coming to the Embassy.


Security Situation

Security reminder: While there is no specific threat information for American citizens in Japan at this time, it is prudent for you and your family to review your personal security profile and to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

The Department of State has issued a new Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests throughout the world. This information is available online here.

Since our previous ACS Newsletter, the U.S. Department of State has issued new Travel Warnings for the following countries. This information is available online here.

Since our previous ACS Newsletter, the U.S. Department of State has issued Travel Warnings for the following countries:

Guinea10/17/2009
Lebanon09/29/2009

Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

The U.S. Department of State also has issued new Travel Alerts for:

Cuba10/9/2009
Honduras10/20/2009
Tanzania (including Zanzibar)10/15/2009

Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions generally within a particular country or region that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert. This information is available online here.

The most up-to-date information regarding permitted and prohibited items on flights can be viewed online here.

For additional information, please visit "Americans Traveling Abroad" on the U.S. Department of State website. Students traveling abroad may wish to visit the State Department site designed especially for them.

To obtain up-to-date information on security conditions, please call 1-888-407-4747 (toll free in the United States), or +1-202-501-4444 if you are outside the United States.


Department of State Online Travel Registration

The U.S. State Department launched a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the U.S. Department of State can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency. U.S. citizens around the world who travel or reside abroad can register at travelregistration.state.gov. If you encounter any difficulties or have any questions about our travel registration website, please send an e-mail to CAIbrs@state.gov.


Leaving Japan?

If you are departing from Japan after a long stay here, and you formally registered your stay with the Embassy or closest U.S. consulate, please be sure to "cancel" your registration when you leave.

You can deregister yourself by visiting the travelregistration.state.gov site.

You may also want to consider unsubscribing from the newsletter mailing list. Please see the instructions on how to accomplish this below.

How to Unsubscribe

If you are leaving Japan or otherwise wish to unsubscribe from this list you can unsubscribe by writing from the same email address you used to subscribe, and send a blank e-mail to:

leave-tokyoacs@mh.databack.com

If you need to receive these newsletters at a different email address, unsubscribe first, using the old address, and subscribe again from the new address.

Contact us:

American Embassy in Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
Tel: 03-3224-5174
Fax: 03-3224-5856
http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/tacs-main.html

The Embassy helps Americans in Tokyo, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Yamagata and Yamanashi.

American Consulate General Sapporo
American Citizen Services
Kita 1-jo, Nishi 28-chome
Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0821
Tel: 011-641-1115
Fax: 011-643-1283

The Consulate in Sapporo helps Americans in Akita, Aomori, Hokkaido, Iwate and Miyagi. As there are times when both officers are away from the office, we ask that you make an appointment before coming to the Consulate General.

American Consulate Nagoya
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor
1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001
TEL (052) 581-4501
FAX (052) 581-3190

Consulate Nagoya provides emergency consular services including death and arrest cases for Americans living in Aichi, Gifu, and Mie prefectures. Please call Nagoya or Osaka for confirmation before traveling to Nagoya if you believe you have an emergency situation. Routine American Citizen services are provided by appointment only. If an appointment is not available, American residents may also receive service at the Consulate in Osaka.

American Consulate General Osaka-Kobe
American Citizen Services
11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543
Tel: 06-6315-5912
Fax: 06-6315-5914

The Consulate in Osaka helps Americans in Osaka, Aichi, Ehime, Fukui, Gifu, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kochi, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Okayama, Shimane, Shiga, Tokushima, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama.

American Consulate Fukuoka
American Citizen Services
5-26, Ohori 2-chome
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052
Tel: 092-751-9331
Fax: 092-713-9222

The Consulate in Fukuoka helps Americans in Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga and Yamaguchi.

American Consulate General Naha
2-1-1 Toyama,
Urasoe City
Okinawa 901-2104
Phone: 098-876-4211
Fax: 098-876-4243
DSN: 645-7323

The Consulate in Naha helps Americans in Okinawa and the Amami Oshima Island group (which is the southern island group of Kagoshima Prefecture).

Travel, safety and security information is also available directly from the Department of State.


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