3 July 2023

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and our counterparts in Japan, the Japan Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, have agreed plans to withdraw our dual-badge charts for Japanese waters. Here, we explain more about this decision and the alternative paper and digital products that are available to support safe navigation in Japan.

Mariner at bridge looking out to sea

Paper chart withdrawal to commence in 2024

The UKHO has a very positive and productive relationship with the Japan Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department.  Together, we recognise the importance of providing the international mariner with coverage of the key shipping routes and ports in Japanese waters. Given the decline we have seen for the JP-prefixed charts we have together agreed that they will be withdrawn. This withdrawal will be implemented over a period of three years, commencing in 2024. As the JP-prefixed charts are withdrawn, mariners will instead need to use the Japanese national series, ‘W’ charts, or other compliant digital charts.

What are Japanese national 'W' charts?


Japanese national ‘W’ charts are dual-language charts, containing information in Japanese and English. They are maintained by Notices to Mariners issued by the Japanese Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department. There are currently 617 charts in this series, which meet the requirements for regulated passage. There are equivalent ‘W’ charts available for all current SNC dual-badge versions, so this change will not result in a loss of coverage.

Alternatives to paper charts


Whereas it remains the UKHO’s long-term intention to withdraw from paper chart production, we are committed to ensuring that no users are left behind without safe and compliant alternatives. For users of paper charts, ‘W’ charts provide a compliant solution for regulated passage for when dual-badge charts are withdrawn. For users that wish to switch to digital navigation, our ADMIRALTY Vector Chart Service (AVCS) provides extensive ENC coverage of Japanese waters, including all major routes and ports.

For more information on the UKHO's withdrawal from paper charts, please follow the link below.

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