5 Things you should do for possible earthquakes in Japan
When you think of Japan, the first thing that comes to mind may not be how prone the country is to natural disasters, more specifically, earthquakes. But it’s a well-known fact that Japan is actually positioned on something called the pacific ring of fire – a 40,000km horseshoe-shaped basin that is associated with a nearly continuous series of plate movements.
Despite how prone to earthquakes Japan is, society has adapted to this risk by making sure children from a young age know what to do in such cases of emergency. In fact, Japan is known as one of the most earthquake ready societies in the world. From teaching young children in what to do during if such an event occurs to regular earthquake drills at school, and even having measures in shops/workplaces for workers to know what to do in cases of an earthquake emergency. In Japan, there even is a day dedicated to bringing awareness to possibilities of natural disaster, called ‘Disaster Prevention Day’ where people are reminded to be prepared for such possible emergencies and to make sure households have emergency kits ready and checked regularly.
It is important that when you move to a new country to have the knowledge of what foreign situations you may find yourself in, especially when it could be situations of urgency and risk. So please keep reading below for 5 things that you should do when moving to Japan in order to be prepared for any emergency of a natural disaster. Some of you reading may have already done some of the things mentioned already or perhaps you have lived in Japan already for quite some time, but it never hurts to reinforce such knowledge!
1. Have an emergency backpack always ready in your accommodation
Always have a backpack with items such as bottled water, non-perishable foods, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit and toiletries. For a more detailed guide on what to collec for an earthquake emergency bag, watch the video below:
It is also important that you leave such kits in a safe and dry place where you can conveniently grab and take away with you in cases of urgency during an emergency. Also, it is important that you are aware of your nearest evacuation zone and know where you should go in such situations. Not only should you be aware of such zones near your home, but also your workplace, school, and places that you regularly go to.
2. Earthquake proof your home
You cannot completely earthquake-proof a place, but you can still do what you can to minimize the damage that a big earthquake can cause. There are certain things you can do for earthquake-proofing your home,
· Always keep exits and doors clear – make sure there is a clear route to the exit and doors of all rooms in your home at all times.
· Arrange your kitchen glassware and cutlery in the lower cabinets and make sure drawers are always closed properly to prevent sharp objects from falling out.
· Secure your cabinets and doors – use latches and clasps as an extra way of minimizing risk from earthquakes, these make sure such storages are kept closed despite the extra work you may have to do to open them. Normally such tools can be purchased from 100 yen stores such as daiso.
· Fastening furniture to your wall – utilise fasteners and drill furniture to secure on the wall.
However, do make sure to check with your landlord/estate agents before doing this.
· Securing tables and chairs etc. – anti-slip mats and devices can be put onto chairs and tables to secure them better in place. Such devices can also be found in daiso! This method goes the same for big electronics such as television sets or microwaves.
3. Download these apps for your phone
JTA Warning app – developed by the Japan Tourism Agency for visitors in Japan and available in English. This app alerts you when there is an earthquake of a seismic intensity of 4 or more on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.
Available in English, Japanese or Korean.
Yukekuru call app – the literal translation of this app is ‘the coming quake’. In Japanese, but known for its reliability and accuracy in reporting an incoming earthquake. There is also an option to set the alert threshold for whatever size of quake that may be warning you of.
4. Know what a J-alert is and sounds like and know when to evacuate
Known as the ‘J-ALERT’ it is the National Instant Warning System where the Japanese governments uses this alert to pass on emergency information to the whole of the country. Smartphones sold in Japan come with "Area email" and "Emergency alert email" installed in and are capable of receiving a J-ALERT. Overseas terminals, MVNO, SIM lock-free smartphones may be unable to receive a J-ALERT. In such cases, please install the "Yahoo! JAPAN disaster prevention flash report" app on your Android or iOS device so you will be able to receive a J-ALERT.
5. Register with your embassy online
Lastly, something that should be done first as you arrive in Japan (or any country for that matter) is to register at your embassy, in case of a national emergency, your embassy would then be aware and have your information stored in the systems.
In conclusion, make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and prepare as much as you can for any possible situation. Having items such as an emergency kit ready and knowing where to go and what to do during an earthquake can minimize the risk of harm and keep you and your family safe. Always communicate and have a plan of action of what to do during such situations.
Click here to read more on what to do during earthquakes and even more tips on how to keep safe!
As always, stay safe and take care!
The Homekuru Editorial Team