The rattling of windows, swinging of light fittings, and toppling over of bric-a-brac. For those of us who have lived in Japan for a while, the odd tremor has become part of the day-to-day. With every tremor that we feel, however, in the back of our minds we know there’s always the risk that Mother Nature might be about to unleash something more vicious. This threat of a large-scale disaster – and its impact on the lives of Tokyoites – is what keeps Consular officials at the British Embassy awake at night.
Though living in – or even visiting – an earthquake prone country like Japan means that we all need to do our bit to make sure we prepared for the unexpected; it’s the job of embassy officials like Rebecca Cousins, Consul at the British Embassy in Tokyo, to ensure that information is available to their citizens.
The British Embassy highlights 5 top tips that people might find useful to stay your safest during the Big One:
Pack a ‘Grab Bag’
This bag of essential provisions should be kept somewhere convenient and in easy reach. Key items to pack include water, food, seasonal clothing, a first aid kit and copies of important documents like passports and ID cards.
Make a note of key phone numbers
In the Tokyo metro area this includes the police (110), fire & ambulance services (119), British Embassy (03 5211 1100), or British Consulate-General in Osaka (06 6120 5600).
Familiarise yourself with your local evacuation area
In addition to knowing how to get around your own neighbourhood, grab a map and be sure that you know your route home from work on foot. You can also check whether your local ward office is running any activities to help you familiarise yourself with local evacuation procedures.
Read through the online guidance
The British Embassy website (ukinjapan.fco.gov.uk/en/) is a veritable treasure trove of information, including what to do during and after an earthquake.
Register with the British Embassy
Registration for British citizens can be done using their online system, LOCATE, allowing officials to contact you in the event of a crisis.
Registration can be done by visiting: ukinjapan.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/living-in-japan/registering-with-us
Cousins stresses that being informed and prepared are most important: ‘Japan is a relatively safe country to live in, but there’s always the chance that nature will come up to bite us. I hope that all British citizens living in, or visiting, Japan will take a little bit of time to prepare themselves for the unexpected. Registering with the Embassy is really key; if we don’t know where people are it makes it so much harder to find you in case of an emergency.’
Photo by British Embassy
For further information, visit the British Embassy’s natural disasters pages (ukinjapan.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/living-in-japan/preparing-for-emergencies) to learn how to prepare for an emergency.