What Should I Do to Prepare for An Earthquake in Japan?

On the afternoon of January 1, 2024, a massive earthquake measuring up to 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the Noto Peninsula in northern Japan, causing tremors felt across almost half of the country. In the following days, numerous aftershocks occurred, resulting in severe damage to homes in the city of Wajima. Many people were affected by the disaster.

At 23:07 on the evening of February 13, 2021, an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale occurred in the sea near Fukushima, Japan. According to official reports, the earthquake’s highest magnitude reached 6, with a tremor intensity of 4 in Tokyo, indicating a significant shake. Many of my friends have mentioned that this is the most powerful earthquake they have experienced since coming to Japan. Additionally, it is noteworthy that this earthquake occurred just one month after the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, evoking painful memories for many people.

So, what should we do to prepare for living in such an earthquake-prone country in advance?


Table of Contents

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Stock up on necessities


There are two types of reserves for daily necessities, one for emergencies and the other for everyday use.


Generally speaking, the damage to houses in non-earthquake-epicenter areas is not too severe. In fact, if you cannot guarantee that you will be able to get to a flat and open area within 4-5 seconds, experts recommend that you stay inside and take shelter when an earthquake occurs. In this case, if you can’t go out to purchase, the daily stockpile will come in handy.


If you live with a family, you will usually purchase a relatively large amount of food and store it in the refrigerator. However, if you are a student studying abroad or a single person in society, you will be more likely to visit a convenience store, and you will not usually have a lot of stockpiles at home.


After a catastrophe, there is usually no water, no food, no electricity, and no support is available soon. It is recommended that you develop the habit of stocking up daily, i.e., be prepared to go at least a week without relying on any outside support for those necessities that would cause inconvenience if used up. The refrigerator is a ready-made storage facility. Food and water can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed as they are produced, while plastic bags, Kleenex and even women’s physiological products can be stored in place at room temperature. Before this batch of necessities is consumed, start replenishing them instead of waiting until they are completely consumed before buying them.


This is what we call daily stockpiling.


Emergency reserve means that when you must go out to help yourself, it is best to prepare a portable emergency bag. In the emergency bag, you can fill it with all kinds of items you think you need, so that when you go to evacuate, you can directly pick it up and go out, and ensure that you have water and safety requirements for a short period of time.


It is recommended to place the emergency bag within easy reaches, such as near the entrance door, in the bedroom, in the car, or on a shelf. In the event of a catastrophe, it is easy to get it in time.


Prevent furniture from tipping, moving and falling


According to statistics, in previous large earthquakes, many of the victims and injured were not due to lack of reserves but were injured because they were hit or crushed by the collapsed furniture. Therefore, as far as possible, do not set up large furniture at home that can easily fall over, and even if you do, you should also do a good job of anti-toppling, anti-moving, and anti-falling measures to prevent the eventuality.

It is recommended that L-shaped hardware and screws be used to secure large furniture to the wall. For taller cabinets, round pillars can be used between the cabinets and the ceiling to stabilize the cabinets by friction. For furniture that doesn’t move much, stick sticky non-slip mats underneath, and for furniture with wheels, such as small trolleys, lock the casters or set up caster trays.


You can refer to the following illustrations.


Ensuring a smooth evacuation route


The best time to escape from a major earthquake is often considered to be the first 12 seconds, hence the term “golden 12 seconds. If you need to successfully escape within 12 seconds, you need to have a smooth escape route in your home.


For example, don’t put too many things in the entrance, don’t put large furniture in the hallway that can easily topple over, and don’t put small furniture that can easily slide down and become an escape barrier.


From the interior of the house to the doorway of the route is clear, and ready to carry emergency bags in case of emergency, in order not to waste the golden 12 seconds.


Worried about a recent earthquake?


If you are worried that an earthquake may occur recently, it is recommended that you prepare for the following.


First of all, stock up on your daily stockpile. If there is a major earthquake, even if you can still go out and buy after the disaster, you will be in a shopping frenzy. Be prepared by stocking up on food and water in advance.


After an earthquake, there is a high risk of power outages. Receiving the latest information about the disaster through your cell phone or computer requires electricity, so charge your mobile power and laptop batteries in advance. It is recommended to prepare a flashlight, there are now sales of installed batteries, can be used as a flashlight, can also be used as a radio to receive radio signals, connected to the USB can even charge the phone multi-functional flashlight. The price is not too expensive, you can always have one, and have a good battery.


At the same time, it is also recommended that all homes have a small gas stove and canned gas. Not only is fully electric, do not use natural gas homes can be used to heat food after a power outage, even the usual use of natural gas homes, in order to avoid the risk of fire after an earthquake, it is also recommended to turn off the natural gas in the home. This time a small gas stove can heat food, but also boil water for drinking, very convenient.


Speaking of water, water storage is also essential. If the earthquake is severe, it is possible that the water will be cut off for a short period of time. It is recommended to clean the bathtub in advance and fill it up with water. However, this water is not for drinking, drinking water needs to be prepared separately. This water can be used to wash hands and face, flush the toilet to avoid disease caused by lack of cleanliness, dirt accumulation.




Experts predict that there may be a strong earthquake in the near future (mid to late February 2021). We hope you will read this article and be prepared to protect yourself in advance.


The advice and pictures in this article are from “DISASTER PREPAREDNESS TOKYO“. The daily and emergency stockpiles mentioned in this article can be organized according to the tables in the Tokyo Disaster Preparedness Guide. We recommend clicking to view it.

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