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What to do during an earthquake or other natural disaster

Basic Information regarding Earthquakes & Disasters
Continued Shaking/Aftershocks
Water, gas, electricity have stopped
Returning to your home country may be difficult at first
Aftershocks
Danger of River Flooding
When to Evacuate/When Evacuating
Getting the correct information
Heading to the evacuation centre
Watch out for danger
Public transport is down
Try not to drive a car where possible in urban areas
Be cautious when walking outside. Move to a safe place, cooperating with other people.
Stay calm while dealing with fire
Turn the circuit breaker off when you leave your house
Issuance of 'Hinan Kankoku'(Evacuation Advisory)
During a long Evacuation Period/After Evacuating
To those who are living in cars or tents
Submit your moving-out notification to the post office
Getting a disaster-victim certificate
Emergency safety checks
Be careful of fraudulent business practices
The Consultation Counter about Pets
Application for a Temporary House (Private Apartment)
Free-of-Charge Legal Consultation on Telephone for International Residents (with Interpreter)
When You Start Tidying Up Your House
How to Prevent Infectious Diseases in a Flooded House
When You Clean Up


●Continued Shaking/Aftershocks

A large earthquake is often followed by many aftershocks. However, they gradually become smaller and fewer with time, so there's no need for concern
.

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●Water, gas, electricity are unavailable

When a natural disaster occurs, water, electricity, and gas are often unavailable. It may take some time for them to be restored. Please make your way to the nearest evacuation centre where you will have access to food and water.

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●Returning to your home country may be difficult at first

It may be difficult for you to return to your home country immediately after a natural disaster has occurred as public transport will likely be down. You may be worried about renewing your passport/status of residence etc., but do not panic. You will not be deported if you overstay due to a natural disaster.

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●Aftershocks

You may feel uneasy that aftershocks are still occurring a month after the initial earthquake struck. The number of aftershocks that occur will normally decrease with time, but big aftershocks can still occur, sometimes in areas further away from the epicentre. When an area is struck by a large main-shock, or aftershocks, it is possible that subsequent aftershocks can cause further destruction such as damage to houses and mud slides, so please avoid going near damaged buildings and cliffs. Large aftershocks can also cause tsunamis so pay attention to tsunami advisories and warnings.

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Danger of River Flooding

The river water level around the observation point BB (CC city) on AA river topped the standard level (Flood Danger Water Level) for issuance of 'Hinan Kankoku', Evacuation Advisory. The neighbor area may be flooded because of destruction of levees.

Check the information issued by municipalities through disaster prevention wireless system, TV, etc., and secure your safety immediately.


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•Getting the correct information

During natural disasters it is easy for rumours and mistaken information to circulate. This can often be the case with social media such as Twitter. Try to get correct information from the national and local governments.

Remember to:

・Verify the source of any information you receive
・Only circulate information you have received from trustworthy sources

If you are in a supporting position, be extra careful to not circulate any information that has not been verified.

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•Heading to the evacuation centre

If your home has been damaged, or seems to be damaged, go to an evacuation centre. They are free to use and you can receive food and water. There will also be toilet facilities, somewhere to sleep, and information about the disaster.

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•Watch out for danger

Many buildings and roads will be damaged and could be dangerous. Avoid them and head to the nearest evacuation centre as soon as possible.

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●Public transport is down

Roads and railways have been destroyed. Travelling will be difficult so please go to your nearest evacuation centre. The roads and railways will gradually become usable again. Announcements will be made when the transportation network is operational again

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●Try not to drive a car where possible in urban areas

Roads and railways have been destroyed. Travelling elsewhere will be difficult so please go to your nearest evacuation centre. The roads and railways will gradually become usable again.

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●Be cautious when walking outside. Move to a safe place, cooperating with other people.

You need to be careful when you walk outside after an earthquake because window panes or walls of buildings around you might have been cracked by the quake.

Also, aftershocks might continue while you are evacuating. Be careful of falling objects or falling walls, fences, and so on.

Avoid walking close to buildings or vending machines and cover your head with bags, if you have one, to protect your head from falling objects.

Try not to move alone; work with other people around you and move to a safer place, such as shelters or parks.


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●Stay calm while dealing with fire

If you find any fires around you, keep calm and judge whether you can extinguish the fire by yourself or not.

In the case that the fire is small, you can prevent the fire from spreading by using a fire extinguisher or covering it with a wet blanket soaked with water from a bathtub.

If there are other people around you, ask them to help you to extinguish the fire together using the extinguisher or the water in the bathtub.

In case the fire has already spread and is difficult to put out by yourself, evacuate quickly, securing your safety.

Try not to be involved by the fire; look around and carefully check if the fire isn't getting closer.

If there is a strong aftershock, for your safety, cooperate with other people to check if there are any fires seen around you, just in case.

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●Turn the circuit breaker off when you leave your house

When you leave your house or office for evacuation or come back after evacuating, turn the circuit breaker off.

The electric wiring might have been damaged by earthquakes.

Although nothing happens while in a blackout, once restored any damage may cause a fire after recovery.

This type of fire is called 'tsuden kasai (fire by re-energization)' and has often occurred in past disasters. For prevention of fire caused by re-energization, it is safer to turn off the circuit breaker.

Soon after electricity has been restored, a tsuden kasai might occur in the building or neighborhood where you reside. Be cautious of any signs of fire, such as burning smells.

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Issuance of 'Hinan Kankoku'(Evacuation Advisory)

This is AA city. 'Hinan Kankoku' or Evacuation Advisory has been issued in the sediment disaster alert area in BB district and CC district at xx:xx (time). Residents in and around these areas, evacuate to the assigned shelters in case of sediment disaster. If it is dangerous to go outside, stay in the safe place in a building. The shelters are assigned at DD Elementary School, EE Junior Highschool, FF Gymnasium, and GG Public Hall.


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●To those who are living in cars or tents

Are there any foods or other things which are currently necessary for you?
Are you having any trouble during your evacuation?
Feel free to contact XX for information about various types of supporting system.
*Please notify us when you move your evacuation site.

What we need to know is:
1. Your name
2. Your birthdate
3. Address where you resided before evacuation
4. Your current evacuation site
5. Your telephone number
6. Your health condition and what you need for living (foods or other stuff)
*Please let us know about your family who is evacuating with you.

CONTACT US AT: XX XX XX


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●Submit your moving-out notification to the post office

Various documents including those related to the payment of relief money, and procedures involved in obtaining a disaster-victim certificate will be posted to you after a natural disaster so evacuees whose new living arrangements are decided should submit a moving-out notification to the post office as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure that all post sent to your previous address will be forwarded to your new address. Post can be forwarded to any address within Japan, including evacuation centres. You can get a moving-out notification from evacuation centres and post offices. You can also apply online (Japanese only): https://welcometown.post.japanpost.jp/etn/

○Documents necessary to submit a moving-out notification
1. Proof of identity such as residence card, drivers license, national insurance card etc.
2. Documents that can prove your previous address such as residence card, drivers license, passport, documents created by government offices etc.

○What you will need to fill-in
1. The day you will move/did move
2. The day you wish to start forwarding post to your new address
3. Your address before moving
4. The name of the person moving
5. Whether there will be anybody living at your previous address after you/the number
6. New address
7. Whether you are submitting the notification for yourself or somebody else, if you are submitting for somebody else their name and your relationship to them.

This procedure has nothing to do with the procedure to change your address recorded on your status of residence.

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●Getting a disaster-victim certificate

If you are affected by a natural disaster (home damage etc.) then you are entitled to make use of some support systems. However, some supporting documents will be necessary.

Disaster-victim certificate:

○Document which verifies the extent to which your house was damaged

○To obtain this document an investigator will need to check your property for damage, and it will take time to be issued

○This document is necessary for: Financial Support for Reconstructing Livelihood of Disaster Victims, relief money, reduction of National Health Insurance premiums, disaster recovery housing loans, housing emergency repair system, entering temporary/public housing, receiving text books etc. free of charge etc.

Necessary documents for applying for a disaster-victim certificate, property checks, issuance period etc., all vary according the government office you apply to, so please confirm with your local city/town hall for more information.

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●Emergency safety checks

Emergency safety checks are administered to assess the safety of buildings that have been damaged by large earthquakes. The checks assess the risk that the building will collapse from aftershocks and are administered to prevent further casualties. Once a check is completed, a red, yellow, or green sticker will affixed to the building.

○Red: Very dangerous! Do not enter.
○Yellow: Dangerous. Be careful on entering.
○Green: Safe to enter

Local governments are in charge of deciding whether or not an emergency safety check is necessary, and implementing the checks. For further information please enquire at your nearest local government office.

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●Be careful of fraudulent business practices

After an earthquake when there is social unrest there is a higher chance of fraudulent business practices and scams that takes advantage of people's anxiety or good nature occurring. These problems can also happen in surrounding areas.

Below are some examples of fraud to be aware of.

○ Relief money fraud
Fraudsters pretend to be reputable organisations such as The Red Cross and attempt to steal money.

○Home repair fraud
Fraudsters claim that repairs are urgently needed and making use of the victims fear they force them into an unreasonably expensive contract.

○Selling daily necessities at high prices
Fraudsters claim that you will no longer be able to buy daily necessities such as batteries, gasoline and then try to sell you what they have for inflated prices.

○Pretending to be volunteers
Fraudsters pretending to be volunteers offer help, but then after the work is completed they ask large sums of money.

If you are unsure, or think you may have been the victim of fraud, please contact your local government or police station.


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Application for a Temporary House (Private Apartment)

Those who cannot afford housing after his/her residence was completely destroyed, or 'Zenkai,' (including half destroyed on a large scale, 'Daikibo Hankai') by an earthquake can reside in a private apartment borrowed by the city as a temporary house.

Find a suitable house and apply for the housing.
*'Daikibo Hankai', or half destroyed on a large scale, means the percentage of damage to the residence is 40% or more to less than 50%.

1. Applicants (those who fulfill all the conditions stated below)
(1) Who has his/her address in the city as of X/XX/20XX.
(2) Who doesn't have a housing because his/her residence has been completely destroyed, or 'Zenkai,' (including half destroyed on a large scale, 'Daikibo Hankai') by an earthquake.
(3) Who cannot secure his/her housing.
(4) Who hasn't repaired his/her residence through the city.

2. Costs
(1) The costs borne by the resident
A. Heat, light, and water expenses, management costs, utility costs, parking lot expenses, Jichikai (Neighborhood membership) fees, and so on.
B. Shortage of repair fee after the deduction of Shikikin when a tenant leaves the housing.
*'Shikikin' is a deposit paid by a tenant to a house owner.

(2) The costs borne by the city
C. House rent
D. Reikin
*'Reikin' is a key money paid to a house owner when a tenant rents a house.
E. Commission fee
F. Shikikin
G. Non-life insurance premium (ex. fire insurance)

3. The maximum period of residence: two years

4. Necessary documents for application
Application form
A certified copy of resident register (of entire household)
Disaster Victim Certificate (a photocopy is acceptable)
*Application is acceptable without the Disaster Victim Certificate.

5. Application period and place for the application
XX temporary reception counter before X/X
Xth floor of the city hall on and after X/X

Apply with the necessary documents.

6. For further information, contact below:
XXXXXX


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●The Consultation Counter about Pets

If you have any questions or problems regarding pets as listed below, please contact the following consultation counter.

*Your pet is lost.
*You have found a pet without an owner.
*You want to keep rescued pets.
*You need any supplies for pets.
*Other things about the pets in the affected area.

Consultation Counter
    
 XXXXXXX


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●Free-of-Charge Legal Consultation on Telephone for International Residents (with Interpreter)

Legal consultation by telephone with lawyers regarding to immigration matters (ex. status of residence) and labour problems (ex. unpaid wages, dismissal, labor accident, etc.) is being held free of charge (the confidentiality of personal information is maintained).

Date of Consultation
XX/XX/20XX

Operation Hours
XX:XX a.m. to XX:XX p.m.

Telephone Number
XX XX XX

*If the line is busy, please call again after a while.

Although the consultation is free of charge, the caller bears the charge for the call.

Available Languages (planned)
Japanese, English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Bengalese, Russian, Korean, Thai, and Filipino (Tagalog).

*The available languages may change.

Please check the latest information at XX
http:// XXXX


Sponsored by XXXX

Contact for Inquiries
XXXX



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When You Start Tidying Up Your House

Take Photographs of the Damage

Take photographs both outside and inside of your house to record the damage caused by the earthquake or other disaster. Take photos of not only the house, but also broken items (car, refrigerator, etc.) as well as the mark of water on walls to prove the flood depth if flooding occurred. Those records can be used as evidence to claim insurance benefits or apply for 'Risai Shomeisho,' a Disaster Victim Certificate.

Risai Shomeisho (Disaster Victim Certificate)

Risai Shomeisho is a document to report a city hall that your house was affected by a disaster.
With the Risai Shomeisho, you can receive various kinds of support, such as benefits for reconstruction of livelihoods, reduction of payment for public utilities, temporary housing, etc., depending on the degree of damage. Reissuance of a residence card is also available with the Risai Shomeisho.
Contact your city hall for the procedure of the issuance of Risai Shomeisho as soon as possible since the acceptance of application and the issuance of the certificate may take longer than a month.


Before You Start Tidying Up

*Electricity
Check the circuit breaker to make sure whether there is a short circuit.
If the breaker is turned off, consult an electric power company before turning back on because there is a danger of electric shock.

*Gas
If you smell gas inside the house, contact a gas company.
There are two types of gas, 'Toshi Gas (city gas)' and 'Propane Gas.'
The supply of Toshi Gas is automatically stopped in case of a disaster.
If the supply has been recovered, you can use the gas by pushing the recovery button on the gas meter. Make sure with the gas company that the gas has been recovered.
If you use the Propane Gas and find the bomb has been moved to a different location, contact the gas company because there might be gas leakage.

*Contact Insurance Company and Others
If your house is covered by a fire insurance or mutual aid (Kyosai), contact the insurance company or Kyosai to make sure if you can receive the compensation benefits for repair.
If you live in an apartment, contact the house owner.
Take photographs of the damage of the house before repairing and report the insurance company, house owner, the builder of your house, and so on.


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How to Prevent Infectious Diseases in a Flooded House

It is essential to clean inside of a flooded house to prevent infectious diseases caused by bacteria and mold.

When you clean up
*Open doors and windows for ventilation!
Mold can grow inside a building in a couple of days.
*Get rid of dirt or mud and dry everything well!
Use disinfectant after dirt is removed.
*Wear gloves to prevent injury!
*Wear masks so as not to inhale dust!
*Wash hands thoroughly after cleanup!

How to disinfect

Read the precautions of disinfectant before using it since some types should be diluted for use.
Use sodium hypochlorite where possible for items heavily soiled or inundated for a long time.
In case you cannot use sodium hypochlorite because of color fade-out or corrosion, use alcohol or benzalkonium chloride.

Disinfectant

Uses and Directions

Dishes, Sinks, Bathtubs

Furnitures, Floor

Sodium Hypochlorite

(or chlorine bleach for home use

Dilute at 0.02%.

Wash with dishwash detergent and water.

Soak in diluted disinfectant for 5 minutes or wipe with a cloth soaked in the disinfectant, and wash & wipe with water.

Dry well.

Dilute at 0.1%.

Wash or wipe mud and dirt away and dry thoroughly.

Wipe carefully with a cloth soaked in the diluted disinfectant.

Wipe twice with water to prevent color fade-out for metal or wooden surface.

Rubbing Alcohol

Use without diluting.

Wash with detergent and water.

Wipe with a cloth soaked in alcohol.

Use alcohol of 70% and higher concentration

Keep away from fire.

Use without diluting.

Wash or wipe mud and dirt away and dry thoroughly.

Wipe with soaked cloth with alcohol.

Use alcohol of 70% and higher concentration

Keep away from fire.

Benzalkonium Chloride of 10% concentration

(invert soap

Dilute at 0.1%.

Wash or wipe mud and dirt away and dry thoroughly.

Wipe carefully with a cloth soaked in the diluted disinfectant.

Dilute at 0.1%.

Wash or wipe mud and dirt away and dry thoroughly.

Wipe carefully with a cloth soaked in the diluted disinfectant.



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When You Clean Up

Prevent infection from injuries

How to prevent
Wear thick gloves and shoes.
Wear clothes to cover the skin, such as long sleeves.

If you are injured;
Wash the injury with running water and disinfect.
Consult a doctor about deep or dirty wound since it may cause 'tetanus.'
*Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by tetanus bacillus getting into an injury and could lead to death if you don't receive proper treatment at medical institutions.


Protection from dust

Dust may cause conjunctivitis if it gets into ones eyes, or cause inflammation of the throat or lungs when inhaled through the mouth, so it is important to protect the eyes and mouth.

How to prevent
Wear goggles and masks.
Wash hands after cleanup activities.

If a foreign object gets into your eyes;
If congestion remains after washing eyes, consult a doctor.


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