Japanese Architecture! Why is a skyscraper 31 meters high?

Firefighting in Japan

Hello! My name is KIYOYU, a former firefighter YouTuber in Japan.

In this article, I will explain the definition of a high-rise building by reviewing the Japanese Fire Defense Law and Building Standard Law.

Why is a building over 31 meters a high-rise building in Japan?

Japan’s Fire Service Law defines a high-rise building as one that exceeds 31 meters in height.

There is a reason for this. It is because it becomes difficult to respond with a ladder truck when the height exceeds 31 meters?

Japanese ladder trucks can extend to heights of roughly 30 to 40 meters.

For reference, Article 126-6 of the Building Standards Law Enforcement Ordinance states that emergency entrances (fire brigade entrances) must be provided at a height of 31 meters or less and on three or more floors.

And Article 34, Paragraph 2 of the Building Standard Law states that emergency elevators must be provided in buildings over 31 meters in height.

In other words, these elevators are necessary in case of fire or other emergencies, or when firefighting activities are conducted on floors above 31 meters.

However, there are provisions for exemptions!

What is an emergency elevator in Japan?

In Japan, emergency elevators are considered to be for the exclusive use of the fire brigade. However, this is only in the event of a fire, and the general public usually uses them as ordinary elevators.


The Fire Service Law and the Building Standard Law are interrelated in some respects. It is interesting that the laws are also connected when you think about the theory.