How To

Earthquake Safety & Preparedness

Essential Response to Earthquake in Japan

For people who are new to Japan, just relocated due to work, visitors and tourist, with language barriers and first time encounter with actual earthquake in close proximity.

First important thing to do is to overcome that feeling of being “lost”, “left alone”, “no clue what to do”.


When the earth shake and building swings

  1. In the event of sudden intense shock wave and it stop within a minute.
  2. If inside apartment, immediately shut gas valve, stop all cooking process even those using electricity. Prevent fire outbreak.
  3. Ensure main entrance door, windows and balcony not obstructed, this is to prepare for evacuation, in the event of after-shock and building cracks.
  4. Have quick access to internet, radio and TV for live update. Even if news is in Japanese, leave it on while you try to get more info from other sources.


Keep cool and reflect – time to prepare next moves

  1. Earthquakes strikes in various intensities, some are minor shock while some can be very destructive.
  2. Japan is earthquake prone, and the whole nation is prepared to live, survive and continue work through earthquake of intensities that may not cause structural damages.
  3. Buildings are designed to swing and sway to cushion impact, thus please be careful of furniture and objects which may fall and cause body injuries.
  4. Transportation might stop till further notice.
  5. Most of Japan’s infrastructures, buildings and facilities are built to withstand earthquake up to scale No 9. Usually in the immediate aftermath of earthquake, civil defense and engineers would do their routine checks.
  6. If no structural damages people are expected to resume activities as per normal but be prepared for after-shock. This is where staying tune to live update and news are important.
  7. Those with language barriers do your best to stay in touch with foreign embassies, social media and foreign news site that got established office in Japan.
  8. Stay in contact with people you can connect with.


What we really need to be prepared for

Worst case situation, infrastructures collapse, essential services cut, transport and communications cut

When siren goes off – Time for evacuation

There are public loud speakers located throughout the cities for time of emergencies. If these starts to sound continuously be ready to move.


Protocol for foreigners

Foreigners are strongly advised to communicate with your relevant embassies.

Be prepared for extreme crisis situation when foreigners needed to be evacuated out of the country.


For foreigners who know you are continuing to stay on inside Japan

  1. Prepare essentials items
  2. Know where are designated disaster relive centers

*Avoid panic buying to stock up food and supplies. In very bad situation use of fire and electricity for cooking will be highly restricted therefore no point stocking up too much food at home. Just have the necessity like drinking water especially.


List of useful sites for foreigners

Live update from Japan Met service with regards to evacuation

In Japanese language, those with language barriers please take note of color code

Purple is the most sever

Use Google translate if necessary, check on area and location affected and why

This site provide live update in real-time of earthquake all over the world

Use the interactive map to locate Japan and zoom in

Note location and depth of epicenter. The nearer to Earth surface the greater the damages to buildings and structures


updated by

David Z