Dial 110 Day in Japan Date in the current year: January 10, 2024

Dial 110 Day in Japan The National Police Agency of Japan has designated January 10 as Dial 110 Day to recognize Japan’s emergency police number, to educate the public on using it properly and positively, and to encourage people to report crimes and accidents.

Most countries have an emergency telephone number or several numbers that allow people to contact emergency services for assistance. The most widely used emergency telephone numbers are 112 and 911, but some countries have other emergency numbers, sometimes using separate numbers for the police, ambulance, and fire service.

In Japan, for example, there are two emergency numbers: 119 and 110. Dialing 119 allows callers to contact fire and ambulance services, while the number 110 is reserved for the police emergency hotline. If a caller has 112 or 911 pre-programmed in their phone, their call well be automatically redirected to the police hotline.

The police emergency number was introduced in Japan in 1948. At first, it worked only in eight major cities — Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Kawasaki, Yokohama, and Kobe. Initially, there were two emergency police numbers, 110 and 1100. However, after the adoption of the new law on police in 1954, only the number 110 was left. Like other emergency numbers used around the world, 110 was chosen because it is easy to memorize and dial.

Dial 110 Day is observed on January 10 because it’s the 10th day of the 1st month (1/10 in the mm/dd format used in Japan). The National Police Agency established it to remind people that the 110 line should be used responsibly because pranks and non-emergency calls prevent the police from helping people who have found themselves in a real emergency.

Upon the receipt of an 110 emergency call, the computer identifies the caller’s location so that the nearest patrol can be dispatched to the scene of a crime or an accident. Meanwhile the operator asks the caller a few questions about the accident or the crime to get the required information:

  • What happened? (Crime or accident.)
  • When?
  • Where? (Address or at least landmarks or other reference points nearby.)
  • How many suspects were there? (Their approximate age, height, build, hair style, face shape, facial hair, clothes, shoes, distinctive features such as tattoos, whether they left the scene by transport or on foot, which direction they went etc.)
  • Was anyone injured?
  • The caller’s name, address and phone number.

110 is a multi-line number, but this doesn’t prevent it from getting busy when there are too many calls. In such a case, new callers are asked to wait on the line. The police recommends against hanging up, because if you hang up and call again, your call will be queued up again, and it will take even longer to get a response.

On Dial 110 Day, the police also reminds the public that 110 is an emergency number that you should only use when you really need to contact the police right away. If you have a request that can wait, seek advice etc., you should contact your local police station via its non-emergency number or send an e-mail.

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