Preparing for a Disaster

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  3. What to Do Before a Disaster Occurs


What happens when a natural disaster occurs?


Have your residence card (zairyu card) and a copy of your passport with you

Personal identification documents are important. In case you lose the original document, having a copy will help prove your identity.


Carry the SOS card with you

The SOS card can be used to ask for help from people. It says on the card, “I cannot speak Japanese. Please help me.”


Learn disaster-related Japanese words and phrases

Multilingual information will not always be available when a disaster occurs.
It would be useful to familiarize yourself with these disaster-related terms in Japanese.

Japanese Words Romaji Meaning
避難(ひなん) Hinan Evacuation
避難所(ひなんじょ) Hinanjo Evacuation Center
地震(じしん) Jishin Earthquake
余震(よしん) Yoshin Aftershock
避難(ひなん) Hinan Evacuation
津波(つなみ) tsunami tsunami
高台(たかだい) Takadai High ground
台風(たいふう) Taifu Typhoon
洪水(こうずい) Kozui Flood
土砂崩れ(どしゃくずれ) Doshakuzure Landslide
竜巻(たつまき) Tatsumaki Tornado
助けてください(たすけてください) Tasukete kudasai Please help me


Have an emergency contact list

In order to let people know where you are and that you’re safe, have a list of emergency contacts such as your family members, friends and your country’s embassy.


Decide with your family an emergency meeting place or evacuation shelter

During a disaster, there is a possibility for family members to become separated. It is important to decide beforehand with your family a meeting place or an evacuation shelter to go to.


Check how to receive disaster-related information as well as how to use the disaster message board service

It is important to check beforehand how to receive information and use the service so that in an emergency, it will be a smooth process.


Prepare a survival kit

You should pack all the basics and necessities in a bag, which you can quickly bring with you.

Do what you can to reduce personal risk: Be Prepared with Emergency Rations - Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization


Get to know your neighbors and participate in regional disaster drills

During an emergency, neighbors will help each other so it is important to regularly interact with your neighbors and greet them.
Also, you should participate in your region’s disaster drills and check how to get to an evacuation shelter.


Useful Links for Daily Life in Japan

Multilingual Disaster Prevention Video “It’s an earthquake! What should I do?”(Sendai Tourism, Convention and International Association)
Useful Information on Disaster Prevention and During a Disaster(Tokyo International Communication Committee )
Important information on countermeasures against earthquake disasters (Fire and Disaster Management Agency)
Be prepared for earthquakes(Institute of Scientific Approaches for Fire & Disaster)
Fukushima Prefecture’s Disaster Preparedness Guidebook “Preparedness Fukushima Handbook”(Fukushima Prefecture)
Disaster Prevention Information in Fukushima “Preparing for Disasters”(Fukushima Prefecture)
Multilingual Living Information “Emergencies/Disasters”(Council of Local Authorities for International Relations)

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