What to do in case of emergency: Earthquake or Tsunami while in Japan

what to do in case of emergency: Earthquake or Tsunami while in Japan Tips

Japan is a disaster-prone country. There is always the worry of earthquakes and volcanic border fires.

If there is a big earthquake, a tsunami may come. In summer, we need to be prepared for huge typhoons, and in winter, we need to think about heavy snowfalls in some places.

I also get anxious when I think about what would happen if a disaster struck in a foreign country where the language is not understood and the culture is completely different from ours. The greater the scale of the disaster, the greater the degree of confusion among people. Japanese people are certainly accustomed to disasters. But that does not mean that confusion does not occur. In such a situation, we should know how to act to protect our own lives. I have compiled the following information for emergencies.

Where to get information?

Disaster Information

Information on foreign embassies and consulates in Japan

Foreign Missions in Japan

Information on Railways

It depends on each railway company whether the trains are working or not, so you need to search and confirm the railway company you will be using.

East Japan Railway Company

Train Status Information | JR-EAST

Disaster Emergency Message Dial 

When a major disaster strikes, it is difficult to connect to telephone and Internet services. In such cases, the Disaster Emergency Message Dial allows you to leave messages.

Disaster Emergency Message Dial (171) | Corporate Information | NTT EAST
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation - Official Website - Corporate Information.

About Evacuation Shelters

In the event of a major earthquake, head first to a temporary evacuation site. Parks and schools near your location are designated as evacuation sites.

Earthquake Early Warning

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides residents in Japan with Earthquake Early Warnings. This is a new system that issues prompt alerts just as an earthquake starts, providing valuable seconds for people to protect themselves before strong tremors arrive.

 On 1 October 2007, JMA launched the Earthquake Early Warning service for provision through a number of media outlets such as TV and radio.

How to protect yourself during an earthquake

When you feel the tremors from an earthquake or receive an earthquake early warning

When you are indoors:

Protect yourself by taking cover under a sturdy table or similar object.
Get away from any furniture or glass panes that could easily topple over.
Do not rush outside.

When you are outdoors:

Use a bag or hand luggage to protect your head.
Get away from structures like concrete-block walls, and watch out for falling objects such as bricks, glass, or signboards.

How to protect yourself during an earthquake | SAFE CITY TOKYO

What if a Tsunami hits?

  1. Obtain a Tsunami hazard map or check the Tsunami signs.
  2. Check the actual evacuation route based on the Tsunami hazard map.
  3. Obtain accurate information on Tsunami warnings and advisories from J-alert, disaster preparedness radio, disaster preparedness e-mail, local radio stations, TV, and lifesavers’ call.

Disaster Prevention Measures in Japan

Evacuation Drills

Each school conducts evacuation drills several times a year. These drills are designed to simulate earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis, and aim to ensure that students will behave in the same manner as in the drills in the event of an emergency. In earthquake-prone Japan, it is necessary to be aware of disasters from childhood in order to save lives.

Earthquake Resistance of Buildings

Tokyo Tower with skyline cityscape in Tokyo, Japan at night

Buildings in Japan are designed to withstand earthquakes. Seismic resistance means that buildings are designed so that they will not collapse in the event of an earthquake. The government has raised the standards for earthquake resistance every time a major earthquake occurs.

There is also the concept of vibration control, which uses the structure of the building to reduce seismic shaking, and seismic isolation, which is constructed so that the shaking of the ground is not transmitted to the building.

None of these methods is perfect, and there is a need to prepare not only for earthquakes, but also for typhoons and snow. In Japan, where natural disasters are common, buildings need to be prepared for all kinds of disasters.