Japan Meteorological Agency

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Japan Meteorological Agency
Japan Meteorological Agency logo2.jpg
JMA logo
Japan Meteorological Agency 2012.JPG
JMA headquarters building in Tokyo
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1, 1956;62 years ago (1956-07-01)
Preceding agencies
  • Tokyo Meteorological Observatory
  • Central Meteorological Observatory
Jurisdiction Government of Japan
Headquarters1-3-4 Ōtemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
35°41′22.5″N139°45′42.1″E / 35.689583°N 139.761694°E / 35.689583; 139.761694 Coordinates: 35°41′22.5″N139°45′42.1″E / 35.689583°N 139.761694°E / 35.689583; 139.761694
Employees5,539 (2010) [1]
Annual budget ¥62.0 billion (2010–11) [2]
¥59.0 billion (2011–12) [3]
¥58.9 billion (est. 2012) [3]
Agency executives
  • Toshihiko Hashida, Director-General
  • Itaru Kaga, Deputy Director-General
Parent agency Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Website www.jma.go.jp

The Japan Meteorological Agency(気象庁,Kishō-chō), JMA, is an agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. [4] It is charged with gathering and providing results for the public in Japan, that are obtained from data based on daily scientific observation and research into natural phenomena in the fields of meteorology, hydrology, seismology and volcanology, among other related scientific fields. Its headquarters is located in Chiyoda, Tokyo.

A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types. Although usage differs, a government agency is normally distinct both from a department or ministry, and other types of public body established by government. The functions of an agency are normally executive in character, since different types of organizations are most often constituted in an advisory role—this distinction is often blurred in practice however.

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism ministry of Japan

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, abbreviated MLIT, is a ministry of the Japanese government. It is responsible for one-third of all the laws and orders in Japan, and is the largest Japanese ministry in terms of employees, as well as the second-largest executive agency of the Japanese government after the Ministry of Defense. The ministry oversees four external agencies including the Japan Coast Guard and the Japan Tourism Agency.

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.


JMA is responsible for gathering and reporting weather data and forecasts for the general public, as well as providing aviation and marine weather. JMA other responsibilities include issuing warnings for volcanic eruptions, and the nationwide issuance of earthquake warnings of the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system. JMA is also designated one of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It is responsible for forecasting, naming, and distributing warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northwestern Pacific region, including the Celebes Sea, the Sulu Sea, the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Weather forecasting application of science and technology to predict the conditions of the atmosphere for a given location and time

Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the conditions of the atmosphere for a given location and time. People have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia and formally since the 19th century. Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere at a given place and using meteorology to project how the atmosphere will change.

METAR is a format for reporting weather information. A METAR weather report is predominantly used by pilots in fulfillment of a part of a pre-flight weather briefing, and by meteorologists, who use aggregated METAR information to assist in weather forecasting.

Marine weather forecasting

Marine weather forecasting is the process by which mariners and meteorological organizations attempt to forecast future weather conditions over the Earth's oceans. Mariners have had rules of thumb regarding the navigation around tropical cyclones for many years, dividing a storm into halves and sailing through the normally weaker and more navigable half of their circulation. Marine weather forecasts by various weather organizations can be traced back to the sinking of the Royal Charter in 1859 and the RMS Titanic in 1912.


Hokkaido Island, region, and prefecture of Japan

Hokkaido, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is the second largest island of Japan, and the largest and northernmost prefecture. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu. The two islands are connected by the undersea railway Seikan Tunnel. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, Sapporo, which is also its only ordinance-designated city. About 43 km north of Hokkaido lies Sakhalin Island, Russia. To its east and north-east are the disputed Kuril Islands.

Moat dry or watery ditch surrounding a fortification or town

A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that is dug and surrounds a castle, fortification, building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices. In older fortifications, such as hillforts, they are usually referred to simply as ditches, although the function is similar. In later periods, moats or water defences may be largely ornamental. They could also act as a sewer.

Tokyo Imperial Palace main residence of the Emperor of Japan

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains buildings including the main palace, the private residences of the Imperial Family, an archive, museums and administrative offices.



The JMA is responsible not only for gathering and reporting weather data and forecasts in Japan, but also for observation and warning of earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and volcanic eruptions. [7]

Earthquake Shaking of the surface of the earth caused by a sudden release of energy in the crust

An earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt to those violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities. The seismicity, or seismic activity, of an area is the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. The word tremor is also used for non-earthquake seismic rumbling.

<i>Tsunami</i> Series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water

A tsunami or tidal wave,, also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami. Unlike normal ocean waves, which are generated by wind, or tides, which are generated by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, a tsunami is generated by the displacement of water.

Typhoon type of tropical cyclone

A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops between 180° and 100°E in the Northern Hemisphere. This region is referred to as the Northwestern Pacific Basin, and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for almost one-third of the world's annual tropical cyclones. For organizational purposes, the northern Pacific Ocean is divided into three regions: the eastern, central, and western. The Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclone forecasts is in Japan, with other tropical cyclone warning centers for the northwest Pacific in Hawaii, the Philippines and Hong Kong. While the RSMC names each system, the main name list itself is coordinated among 18 countries that have territories threatened by typhoons each year A hurricane is a storm that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean or the northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a tropical cyclone occurs in the South Pacific or the Indian Ocean.

The agency has six regional administrative offices (including five DMOs and Okinawa Meteorological Observatory), four Marine Observatories, five auxiliary facilities, four Aviation Weather Service Centers and 47 local offices composed of the LMOs. These are also used to gather data, supplemented by weather satellites such as Himawari , and other research institutes. [7]

District Meteorological Observatory

The District Meteorological Observatory, abbreviated to DMO, is a type of JMA weather stations and a part of its local offices. There are five District Meteorological Observatories in Japan. They're responsible for regional observation of the atmosphere, earthquakes, volcanos and gathering up data on them in order to announcing information to the public that provides against various natural disasters. They also supervise Local Meteorological Observatories and other weather stations within each district area.

The Okinawa Meteorological Observatory is a JMA weather stations located in Naha, Okinawa. It is responsible for weather services in Okinawa region and operates three Local Meteorological Observatories as well as an Aviation Weather Station.

Local Meteorological Observatory

The Local Meteorological Observatory, abbreviated to the LMO, is a type of JMA weather station and a part of its local offices. JMA set up five LMOs in Hokkaido, three in Okinawa and one in another each prefecture which has neither District Meteorological Observatory nor Marine Observatory; thus Local Meteorological Observatories count 50 in Japan. They are responsible for local weather services and some of them manage local weather stations.

In 1968, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) designated the JMA as a Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) for Asia. [8] In June 1988, the WMO also assigned the JMA as a RSMC for the Northwestern Pacific under its Tropical Cyclone programme. [8] In July 1989, the RSMC Tokyo – Typhoon Center was established within the headquarters office, which dealt with the forecasting and dissemination of active tropical cyclones, as well as preparing a summary of each year's cyclone activity. [9]

World Meteorological Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 192 Member States and Territories. Its current Secretary-General is Petteri Taalas and the President of the World Meteorological Congress, its supreme body, is David Grimes. The Organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

Observation and forecast


Land weather

Each DMO and LMO issues weather forecasts and warnings or advisories to the general public live in its own area. Weather data used to these forecasts are acquired from the Surface Observation (represented by the AMeDAS), the Radar Observation, the Upper-air Observation and the Satellite Observation mainly using the Himawari series.

Marine weather

The Marine Observatories are seated in Hakodate, Maizuru, Kobe and Nagasaki. These stations observe ocean waves, tide levels, sea surface temperature and ocean current etc. in the Northwestern Pacific basin, as well as the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk basin, and provide marine meteorological forecasts resulted from them, in cooperation with the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, Japan Coast Guard.

Aviation weather

In 2005, in accordance with the ICAO's new CNS/ATM system, the Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism set up the Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC) in Fukuoka, where the FIR is fixed. Along with this establishment, JMA placed the Air Traffic Meteorology Center (ATMetC) inside the ATMC.

The agency forecasts SIGMET for aircraft in flight within the Fukuoka FIR airspace, while VOLMET is broadcast by each Aviation Weather Service Centers at the airports of Haneda, Narita, Centrair and Kansai. Additionally, Aviation Weather Stations (beside the airports of New Chitose, Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Naha) deal with the similar tasks as these.

Tropical cyclones

In the Northwestern Pacific area, the typhoon season ordinarily comes almost from May to November. The JMA forecasts and warns or advises on tropical cyclones to the public in Japan and its surrounding countries as well because it also works as the RSMC Tokyo – Typhoon Center. [10]


The JMA has its own 624 observation stations across the country [11] that set up at intervals of 20 km approximately [12] in order to measure seismic intensity of earthquakes precisely. The agency also utilize about 2,900 more seismographs [11] owned by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) and local governments. A 24-hour office has been housed within the JMA headquarters in Tokyo, for monitoring and tracking seismic events in the vicinity of Japan to collect and process their data, which issues observed earthquake's information on its hypocenter, magnitude, seismic intensity and possibility of tsunami occurrence after quakes quickly to the public through the Earthquake Phenomena Observation System (EPOS). [13] The Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system began to work fully for the general public on October 1, 2007.

The agency is one of the representatives of the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction. [14]


It is essential to provide coastal regions for tsunami information so that its catastrophic damages can be reduced and mitigated there. In case of there is a possibility of tsunami after an earthquake, JMA issues Tsunami Warning or Advisory for each region in Japan with information of estimated tsunami heights and arrival times within 2 to 3 minutes of the quake.


The agency set up four Volcanic Observations and Information Centers within DMOs in Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo and Fukuoka. They are monitoring volcanic events on 110 active volcanos in Japan and 47 of these volcanos selected by the Coordinating Committee for Prediction of Volcanic Eruption are under the 24-hour observation with seismographs, accelerometers, GPS, air-shock recorders, fixed point observation cameras and other equipment. If it is predicted that a volcanic eruption will affect inhabited areas or are around a crater, Volcanic Warnings are issued and supplemented by Volcanic Alert Levels.



Local offices

Auxiliary organs

Director-Generals and Chief Executives

Chief Executives of Central Meteorological Observatory

  1. Arai Ikunosuke (荒井 郁之助): 1890–1891
  2. Kobayashi Kazutomo(小林 一知): 1891–1895
  3. Nakamura Kiyoo(中村 精男): 1895–1923
  4. Okada Takematsu(岡田 武松): 1923–1941
  5. Fujiwhara Sakuhei (藤原 咲平): 1941–1947
  6. Wadachi Kiyoo (和達 清夫): 1947–1956

Director-Generals of JMA

  1. Wadachi Kiyoo(和達 清夫): 1956–1963
  2. Hatakeyama Hisanao(畠山 久尚): 1963–1965
  3. Shibata Yoshiji(柴田 淑次): 1965–1969
  4. Yoshitake Motoji(吉武 素二): 1969–1971
  5. Takahashi Koūchirō(高橋 浩一郎): 1971–1974
  6. Mouri Keitarō(毛利 圭太郎): 1974–1976
  7. Arizumi Naosuke(有住 直介): 1976–1978
  8. Kubota Masaya(窪田 正八): 1978–1980
  9. Masuzawa Jōtarō(増澤 譲太郎): 1980–1983
  10. Suehiro Shigeji(末廣 重二): 1983–1985
  11. Uchida Eiji(内田 英治): 1985–1987
  12. Kikuchi Yukio(菊地 幸雄): 1987–1990
  13. Tatehira Ryōzō(立平 良三): 1990–1992
  14. Nitta Takashi(新田 尚): 1992–1993
  15. Ninomiya Kōzō(二宮 洸三): 1993–1996
  16. Ono Toshiyuki(小野 俊行): 1996–1998
  17. Takigawa Yūsō(瀧川 雄壮): 1998–2000
  18. Yamamoto Kōji(山本 孝二): 2000–2003
  19. Kitade Takeo(北出 武夫): 2003–2004
  20. Nagasaka Kōichi(長坂 昴一): 2004–2006
  21. Hiraki Satoshi(平木 哲): 2006–2009
  22. Sakurai Kunio(櫻井 邦雄): 2009–2011
  23. Hatori Mitsuhiko(羽鳥 光彦): 2011–2016
  24. Toshihiko Hashida(橋田 俊彦): 2016–present

See also

Related Research Articles

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Tokyo District Meteorological Observatory, abbreviated as TDMO, is one of the five District Meteorological Observatories of the Japan Meteorological Agency. It also fills the role of Region Central Forecast Office for Kantō region and is based inside the JMA headquarters building located in Ōtemachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo.

2009 Shizuoka earthquake

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Typhoon Kompasu (2010) Pacific typhoon in 2010

Typhoon Kompasu, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Glenda, was the strong tropical cyclone that moved along Okinawa, Japan and west coast of the Korean Peninsula before striking the Seoul Metropolitan Area in early-September 2010. It was the first significant system to directly strike the Seoul Metropolitan since Typhoon Prapiroon in 2000 and the strongest typhoon to directly impact the area since Tropical Storm Janis in 1995.

1993 Hokkaidō earthquake

The 1993 southwest-off Hokkaido earthquake occurred at 13:17:12 UTC on 12 July 1993 in the Sea of Japan near the island of Hokkaido. It had a magnitude of 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale and a maximum felt intensity of VIII (Severe) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It triggered a major tsunami that caused deaths on Hokkaidō and in southeastern Russia, with a total of 230 fatalities recorded. The island of Okushiri was hardest hit, with 165 casualties from the earthquake, the tsunami and a large landslide.

Cherry blossom front

The cherry blossom front refers to the advance of the cherry blossoms across Japan. The Japan Meteorological Agency records the opening and full bloom of the blossoms from Kyūshū in late March to Hokkaidō in the middle of May. The advancing front is also the subject of regular reports by the major news agencies. The cherry blossom is of great public interest in Japan thanks to its symbolism and the custom of flower viewing known as hanami.

This article describes the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) severe weather terminology. The JMA defines precise meanings for nearly all its weather terms as the Information for Severe Weather Preparation. This article describes JMA terminology and related JMA weather scales. Some terms may be specific to certain regions.

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Typhoon Lekima (2013)

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Typhoon Neoguri (2014) 2014 Pacific cyclone

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Typhoon Vongfong (2014)

Typhoon Vongfong, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ompong, was the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2014, and struck Japan as a large tropical system. It also indirectly affected the Philippines and Taiwan. Vongfong was the nineteenth named storm and the ninth typhoon of the 2014 Pacific typhoon season. Estimates assess damage from Typhoon Vongfong to have been over $48 million, mainly for the sinking of the Ocean Researcher V. At least 9 people were killed along the path of the typhoon in those countries.

Typhoon Dujuan (2015) 2015 typhoon

Typhoon Dujuan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Jenny, was the second most intense tropical cyclone of the Northwest Pacific Ocean in 2015 in terms of ten-minute maximum sustained winds, tied with Noul. The twenty-first named storm and the thirteenth typhoon of the 2015 Pacific typhoon season, Dujuan brought extremely powerful winds throughout the Yaeyama Islands and Taiwan in late September, causing 3 deaths in Taiwan. The typhoon also caused over ¥2.5 billion (US$392.9 million) damage in East China.

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