Disaster Prevention Information for Foreigners

There are frequent disasters in Japan, including earthquakes, typhoons, heavy rain and fires.
You need to know about such disasters in Japan and continually prepare for them.

Disaster Preparation


  • (1) Find the safest place in your house.
  • (2) Store enough drinking water for three days or more. (at 3 liters per person per day)
  • (3) Prepare a backpack or emergency bag and make sure every member of your family knows the place where you keep it.
  • (4) Secure furniture and prevent it from falling over by using earthquake proofing devices.
  • (5) Apply shatter-proof film to glass items such as windowpanes, cupboards, shelves, etc.
  • (6) Make a list of emergency telephone numbers including the numbers of those who can speak your language.
  • (7) Confirm beforehand the route from your house to your nearest temporary evacuation center and hospital.

What should be kept in the emergency bag?

  • Flashlight
  • dry cell batteries
  • drinking water
  • food
  • portable radio
  • money (including some 10 yen coins for pay phones)
  • passport
  • copies of ID card
  • valuables such as bankbooks
  • matches/lighters
  • candles
  • a helmet or protective headgear
  • a first-aid kit, etc. (Those who require regular medication should be sure to take their medicine with them)
  • work gloves
  • socks, underwear
  • winter clothes, etc.

Typhoons, Floods and Landslides

To minimize the damage caused by imminent catastrophes, such as typhoons, heavy rains, rainstorms, and landslides, regularly watch or listen to the weather forecast.

  • (1) Pay attention to the warnings and other information about typhoons and rainstorms broadcasted on radio and TV.
  • (2) Do not go out unnecessarily. If you do go out, please return home as soon as possible.
  • (3) Please check things around your house. If you find objects that can be blown away easily by strong winds, bring them inside or secure them firmly.
  • (4) Seal any gaps around windows and doors with vinyl tape, and if you have shutters please keep them closed.
  • (5) Keep a flashlight or some candles to use in case of blackout. Stock extra dry cells, too. Be prepared for a potential blackout. Have a flashlight and/or candles ready. Also, remember to stock spare batteries.
  • (6) Prepare an emergency bag for quick evacuation.
  • (7) If you live in an area where a flood is likely to occur, move furniture and electrical appliances as high as possible.
  • (8) Turn off the main gas outlet.
  • (9) Make sure that every member of your family knows the route to the emergency shelter.
  • (10) Lead elderly and physically handicapped people to a safe place as soon as you can.
  • (11) If you live on or close to a mountain and cliff and are unable to evacuate your residence in time, please take shelter in a place on the second floor facing away from the slope.

Check for the Nearest Evacuation Shelter!

A booklet showing “evacuation shelters” and “safety evacuation areas” where people can go when large scale disasters such as earthquakes occur on the map of Kyoto City in Japanese and English.

Prepare with the Correct Knowledge

This explains how to prepare for fires and earthquakes in 4 different languages (English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese). You can find information such as how to protect yourself from earthquakes and how to call for ambulances and the fire department.

Explanation of disaster preparedness for foreign residents in 9 languages and easy Japanese.

When do I evacuate?

Disaster prevention information regarding floods and landslides are divided into 5 levels.
Level 5 means that the disaster has already happened. Evacuate at Level 4!!

Precaution Levels and the actions you should take

Precaution Level Actions You Should Take Type of Issuance Level

Take the utmost possible action to save your life.

Notification that a disaster has occurred.

Evacuate! Evacuate to a shelter as soon as possible.

If going out puts your life in danger, evacuate to the safest place in the house.

Call for Evacuation, Evacuation Order (Emergency)

Evacuate the elderly and others who need help.

Those who need extra time (the elderly, people with disabilities, babies and toddlers, etc.) should start evacuating.

Prepare for Evacuation/ Start Evacuating the Elderly

Confirm your evacuation actions.

Reconfirm your evacuation site and the route to get there.


Review your evacuation actions.

Monitor the latest weather reports.

Early caution

*These orders may not be issued in this order.
*Even if these orders are not issued, if you feel in danger, start evacuating.

When a Disaster Occurs

When an earthquake occurs

The earthquake tremors will settle after a while, but aftershock may start. Move to safe location while shaking is stopped.

(1) Ensure your personal safety.Your life is the most important thing; when an earthquake occurs ensure your personal safety.
(2) Turn off the gas and electricity immediately.Do not panic. First, shout out to others “Hi o kese!” or “Turn off the gas and electricity!”, then turn off all electrical, cooking and heating appliances.
(3) Secure an exit.Often doors and windows are deformed by an earthquake becoming jammed and do not budge. Open doors and windows enough that you can create an escape route. Please take special precaution if you live in an apartment or a housing complex.
(4) If a fire breaks out, extinguish it immediately.Shout out loud “Kaji da!” and ask your neighbours to help you put out the fire while it is small and manageable.
(5) Do not rush out of a building.Do not panic. Be aware of falling objects such as glass fragments and roof tiles when you exit a building.
(6) Do not go close to or walk along narrow alleys, trenches, cliffs or rivers.Watch out for brick walls, gateposts, vending machines and other objects that may fall down easily.
(7) Watch out for landslides and tsunami.If you are near a mountain or by the sea and feel tremors, prepare to evacuate immediately.
(8) Escape to a safe place on foot. Take the minimum amount of your belongings necessary.Walk to your closest designated evacuation center. Do not use a car or a motorcycle.
(9) Help others in emergency relief works.Work together with others to help the elderly, physically handicapped, and/or injured people.
(10) Get accurate information and watch out for aftershocks.Do not be bothered by rumours and false information. Obtain accurate information via TV or radio.

After an Earthquake

If you find it difficult to return home, please inform your embassy or consulate, your employer or your school about yourself and your family’s whereabouts.

◆Telephone message service during a disaster(Dial 171)(Saigai-yo Dengon Daiyaru)

① Recording your message

Dial “171”
(Japanese announcement)
Dial “1”
(Japanese announcement)
Dial ***-***-****(Telephone number of the person you want to reach)
Dial “1”
(Japanese announcement)
Message recording(within 30 seconds)
(Japanese announcement)
Dial “9”
(Japanese announcement)

② Listening to the message

Dial “171”
(Japanese announcement)
Dial “2”
(Japanese announcement)
Dial ***-***-****(Telephone number of the person you want to reach)
Dial “1”
(Japanese announcement)
Replaying message
(Japanese announcement)
Dial “9”
(Japanese announcement)

For Restoration

◆Disaster Victim Certification(Risai Shoumei)

When a person suffers from heavy rain, a typhoon or a fire and his/her house and/or car is damaged, and they want to receive exemptions and extensions of city tax, he/she needs a “Disaster Victim Certificate (Risai Shoumei-sho)”. Take photographs of the damage. Take these photographs to the local government office. For more information, please consult with the application section of your ward office/branch office.

※Application form to issue a “Disaster Victim Certification(Risai Shoumei-sho)

If the damage was caused by fire, take the application to the fire station. If the damage was caused by wind or flooding, take it to the ward office/branch office.

◆When you start to clean your house(flood damage)

For foreign residents who are victims of flood damage. Explaining with illustrations so it’s easy to understand what is entailed when you start cleaning.

E-mail newsletter, 「multilingual useful information」

This is a mail magazine that provides needed information at the time of disaster and useful information for foreigners in multiple languages (Japanese, English, Chinese).

Subscribe to「multilingual useful information」

For example, you’ll see information like the foll0owing:


【台風20号にご注意!/Beware of typhoon No.20 !】

大雨となる可能性があります。 交通機関に遅れや運休が

Big typhoon No.20 is approaching to Japan,
so it may be heavy rain from this evening.
Delays and cancellation of public transport have been
reported. We recommend that you go back home
early today. Please check the weather forecasts and
disaster informations below.

交通滞后于時間表,所以我們尽量早点回家。 請尽量早点回家。

強(つよ)い 台風(たいふう)20号(ごう)が 近(ちか)くに
あります。今日(きょう)の 夜(よる)は 風(かぜ)や
雨(あめ)が 強(つよ)く なります。早(はや)く
家(いえ)に 帰(かえ)って ください。
天気予報(てんきよほう) を よく 見(み)て ください。