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What to do during an earthquake or other natural disaster

Getting the correct information
It's shaking!
Heading to the evacuation centre
Water, gas, electricity have stopped
Returning to your home country may be difficult at first
Watch out for danger
Submit your moving-out notification to the post office
Aftershocks
Getting a disaster-victim certificate
Emergency safety checks
Be careful of fraudulent business practices
Public transport is down


•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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•It's shaking!
After a large earthquake there are often many smaller aftershocks. They will get smaller with time.

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•Heading to the evacuation centre

If your house 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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•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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•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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•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): http://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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•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 damage buildings and cliffs. Large aftershocks can also cause tsunami so pay attention to tsunami advisories and warnings.

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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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•Public transport is down

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

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For Enquiries
Multiculturalism Promotion Division
Tel : +81-3-5213-1725
Fax : +81-3-5213-1742
Email : tabunka@clair.or.jp
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