Tokyo Earthquake Disaster 東京大震災
Roughly 20% of the world's earthquakes happen in Japan. And since 1891, there have been 9 quakes in excess of 7.0 on the Richter scale in Japan. On any day, an average of half a dozen tremors are recorded somewhere in the Japanese archipelago. Major quakes in Japanese history have been responsible for enormous destruction of property and loss of life. More or less recent ones have been:
Continued below: What to do in an earthquake
Be prepared for an earthquake
Hinanjo, or earthquake disaster evacuation areas
Every neighborhood in Japan has a hinanjo, or disaster evacuation area, usually an elementary or junior high school. Establish the location of the hinanjo disaster evacuation area nearest your home or office. The following links set out such locations for Japan's 12 biggest cities, starting with Tokyo. (Unfortunately, all but one are in Japanese, so get a Japanese person to help you if necessary.)
Tokyo earthquake - be prepared
A major earthquake may well cut off electricity and water supplies, and make shopping impossible; therefore, it is highly recommended that you keep an earthquake emergency kit permanently on hand.
Earthquake disaster emergency kit
The ideal emergency kit is a backpack containing at least the following:
Keep the emergency kit accessible at all times in, for example, a corner of a room or your entranceway.
Also, make sure you know exactly where the nearest fire extinguisher is, and how to use it.
Earthquake disaster information by radio
Keeping a radio with you in the aftermath of an earthquake disaster in Tokyo or elsewhere will help you keep in touch with the latest reliable news, and serve as a defense against rumor-mongering.
The non-Japanese stations you can tune into are as follows:
InterFM - 76.1 MHz (English, Japanese, French, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Tagalog, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai)
NHK - 695 KHz (Japanese, English)
AFN - 810 KHz (English)
What to do in an earthquake
One of the most useful things you can do about an earthquake should be done before it happens. Falling furniture and accessories are a major cause of earthquake injury, so take precautions to minimize the risk of their toppling.
When an earthquake strikes
1. Seek shelter immediately under a table, desk, or near a pillar.
2. As soon as is practicable, open a door or other means of access to the outside before it jams.
3. Do not go outside immediately, but wait till the quake is over. It is usually safer inside than outside.
4. Extinguish any fires or gas flames, and turn off your electricity. (If possible, this should be done first, at the sign of even the most minor tremor.)
5. If a fire breaks out, yell "Kaji da! Kaji da!" ("Fire! Fire!") as soon as you can, and attack the base of the fire with water, a fire extinguisher, or anything else at hand that can be used to smother it.
NTT Disaster Message Service: 171
Japan's telephone provider, NTT, operates the NTT Disaster Message Service which allows you to leave messages for people during a disaster, even if they cannot be contacted immediately. Please note that the automatic guidance is in Japanese.
How to use the NTT Disaster Message Service
To leave a message for someone
1. Dial 171
2. Dial 1
3. Dial the number of the party you are trying to contact
4. Dial 1 then #
5. Record your message
6. Dial 9 then # to confirm your message
7. Hang up
To check whether someone has left you a message
1. Dial 171
2. Dial 2
3. Dial the number of the party who may have left you a message
4. Dial 1 then #
5. Listen to the message, if any. Do not hang up immediately after the first message. There may be multiple messages.
6. Hang up
National Disaster Prevention Day in Japan
Finally, September 1 is Japan's National Disaster Prevention Day, or Bohsai no Hi, in Japanese. It dates from 1960, and was established to ensure maximum readiness for disaster. The significance of the date lies in its being the date of the Great Kanto (Tokyo) Earthquake of 1923.
It is also often the date on which ni-hyaku tohka falls. Ni-hyaku tohka, literally "210th", is the 210th day after Risshun no Hi, or the "Start-of-Spring Day" (around February 4), and is traditionally considered a time when inclement weather, typhoons in particular, is likely, and therefore a time for extra caution.