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#135670 - 01/24/03 11:13 AM Japan - No grounds?
Gus1999 Offline

Registered: 12/11/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Just returned from a trip to Tokyo. What surprises me is most covienence outlets even in new commercial constructions lack a ground pin. They use plain old Edison two wire outlets similar to the obsolete US "snap in" devices. You remember that system where you could snap in an outlet, switch, or pilot light into the frame up to three devices per standard single gang box.

In bathrooms the do provided a grounded outlet but no GFCI. There are three wire recepticals in comercial for dedicated equipment such as copy machines but are hard to find.

Can anyone comment on this. Are they just 20 to 30 years behind the US in electrical systems?

[This message has been edited by Gus1999 (edited 01-24-2003).]

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#135671 - 01/24/03 06:09 PM Re: Japan - No grounds?
djk Offline

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
From what i've seen on my travels the only countries that require a ground at every outlet and on every plug wheather it's class 1 or class 2 it has to have a 3rd pin even if not connected simply to fit into a socket use the UK standard outlet (BS1363)

I found grounding in most normal buildings in the US not all that great.
France/Germany are fine in new buildings lots of ungrounded outlets in older french bedrooms

As for japan, you could be looking at older outlets.. or they may require grounding on specific outlets only.. e.g. for heating, washing machines etc. there may be a strict requirment for double insulated appliences.

#135672 - 01/24/03 07:34 PM Re: Japan - No grounds?
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Isn't most of the Electrical Equipment in Japan, Double Insulated(Not requiring an Earth)?.
I am referring to the great majority of Electrical Appliances, that come from Japan,
these days are invariably made of plastic and are Double Insulated.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#135673 - 01/25/03 03:51 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Many of the lists of international outlets I've seen state that the ungrounded (NEMA 1-15 style) outlet is standard in Japan, although those lists are sometimes not all that accurate.

I have no idea whether Japan requires new installations to use grounded outlets.

#135674 - 01/26/03 05:52 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
The Japanese grounded plug is a bit unusual:

Japan seems to have chosen a different approach to grounding. (Note: Different doesn't mean wrong)

#135675 - 01/26/03 09:51 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
I wonder how many people actually take the time to connect that grounding spade lug to the wall plate screw?

We had air conditioner extension cords here in the USA with similar plugs. Thankfully they're no longer seen. Unfortunately we still have these adapters to contend with (they work on the same principle):

I have never seen one of these being properly used -- you are supposed to attach the tab (or the lug on the wire) UNDER THE WALL PLATE SCREW. And this only works if the two-pin outlet in question is actually earthed.

And if it is earthed, it's probably easier to just go out and buy a modern 3-pin outlet to replace that two-pin relic with.

#135676 - 01/26/03 10:49 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
Texas_Ranger Offline

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
The only thing I remember about Japan is that I've read somewhere that they sometimes (or maybe always?) used the German/Austrian red for ground. Any other ideas about color codings for fixed wiring in Japan?
I tried a google search on the topic but without any knowledge of Japanese there'S probably no chance.

#135677 - 01/27/03 08:19 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
djk Offline

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
I remember hearing somewhere that Japan requires that practically all but the most major appliences to be double-insulated. Major appliences with metal bodywork are possibily hardwired / connected with a different type of plug?

Unlike the USA japanese manufacturers make a lot less use of sheet metal :-)

Even here in Europe the vast majority of portable appliences don't require grounding. The only exceptions being metal kitchen equipment (kettles, toasters, irons etc), portable electric heating and some lamps. It wouldn't be impossible to produce almost all of these products so that they didn't require grounding though. A 110 V supply using US style sockets would also generally dictate that portable appliences be limited in power consumption and that washers, dryers etc use a different connection (e.g. 220V). It's unlikely that British style 3KW plug-in electric kettles etc are used there !

#135678 - 01/27/03 09:04 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
dulldull Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/27/03
Posts: 2
I heard from friends working in China that they don't have ground connections per se over there, but that the "ground" is connected to the neutral wire. Is that possible?

#135679 - 01/27/03 09:04 AM Re: Japan - No grounds?
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden

That's definitely possible. Sweden required doubled insulated household appliances prior to joining the EU. I suppose Japan could have done the same. You are right, with 100V and 15A plugs max. power is just 1500W, limiting the use to small appliances.

However, from what I've heard, the Japanese wiring regs are being rewritten with help of Australia/New Zealand to match those of other countries.

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