The government on Friday urged municipal authorities to publicly disclose the names of people who are missing or whose status is unknown during a disaster without getting consent from their families first to assist those carrying out rescue operations.

The decision to release names is currently left up to individual municipalities, and there have been cases where names have been publicly withheld out of privacy concerns.

The new guidelines, published for local governments nationwide, say expediting the announcement of missing persons during a disaster is crucial for the success of rescue efforts in the first 72 hours after such an event, as the victim survival rate drops sharply thereafter.

Although not compulsory to follow, the guidelines apply to all people in a disaster-affected area "regardless of nationality," a Cabinet Office disaster management official said.

In addition to a person's name, the guidelines recommend their municipality of residence, age and gender should also be disclosed publicly.

In principle, a municipal government is responsible for collecting and assessing a missing person's information, while higher-level prefectural governments would make the announcement.

People caught up in a disaster who previously have been victims of domestic violence or stalking will have their basic residence registration checked for any disclosure restrictions before their names are released.

According to the guidelines, depending on the circumstances, the names of people considered to be in peril may be removed from announcement lists at the request of family members.

"I want local governments to be prepared at all times to disclose information in order to ensure speedy rescue operations," disaster management minister Koichi Tani told a news conference.