Earthquake preparedness in Japan


With much of Japan in ever-present danger of being wiped out by an earthquake, and with the recent launch of the earthquake early warning system, the Cabinet Office Japan decided to take a look at earthquake preparedness.


Between the 4th and 14th of October 2007 3,000 adults from all over Japan were randomly selected. 1,757 of these took part in face-to-face interviews. Age and sex breakdown was not reported, although Cabinet Office surveys tend to have a more even age spread than other surveys.

If you live in Tokyo, the bad news is that the city is overdue being flattened by the big one; Nagoya is due to be hit by a tsunami, and Osaka will probably get the two for the price of one. We’ve actually just bought emergency kits; actually, it was stored up points from my credit card, so we spent it on two evacuation kits and a table-top stove. I don’t think we have a gas canister for that, though… We usually have a bath tub of water sitting around, but we’ve got a funny toilet that won’t flush when the electricity’s off. If the worst comes to the worst, we plan to evacuate to the next-door town; we live on the border between two, and across the line is a posh school that’s bound to have decent facilities and is slightly closer than our official emergency centre, a dingy, slightly falling down concrete shed.

Research results

Q1: Have you thought about getting your own home strengthened against earthquakes? (Sample size=1,757)

Plan to get work done within a year1.8%
Plan to get work done, but not within a year3.1%
Don’t have a plan, but would like to get it done sometime (to SQ)26.7%
Don’t have any plans at all (to SQ)47.2%
Already had work done16.8%
Don’t know4.3%

Q1SQ: Why don’t you have any plans to get your own home strengthened against earthquakes? (Sample size=1,299, multiple answer)

Takes too much money41.9%
Don’t feel it’s necessary27.9%
Live in shared accomodation, rental house, etc, so cannot choose to do it myself23.3%
Not clear if it would have any benefit13.4%
Don’t know how best to do it9.2%
Too much trouble4.2%
Would make the house look ugly1.9%
No particular reason2.0%
Don’t know0.8%

Q2: What sort of preparation have you done in case of a large earthquake? (Sample size=1,757, multiple answer)

Have portable radio, torch, medicines, etc prepared58.9%
Have emergency food, water supplies prepared36.0%
Have decided on nearby school, park, etc as evacuation location33.5%
Always keep a full bath of water27.6%
Have decided how to keep in touch with family in emergency25.6%
Have furniture, refridgerator braced against falling over (to Q3)24.3%
Have water buckets, fire extinquishers prepared24.0%
Have valuables, etc, ready for emergency evacuation23.1%
Have emergency clothes, blankets prepared14.3%
Have proactively participated in disaster drill12.5%
Have a home that is strong against earthquakes10.9%
Had a home earthquake resistance survey and dangerous points highlighted4.8%
Have had block walls checked to prevent collapse4.7%
Nothing in particular14.5%
Don’t know0.3%

Q2SQ: Why do you not have furniture, refridgerator braced against falling over? (Sample size=1330, multiple answer)

Too much bother26.9%
Don’t think bracing would be effective in a big earthquake17.0%
Don’t think it would be dangerous if it fell over14.4%
Don’t think my furniture would fall over in an earthquake12.6%
Takes money to do11.7%
Would damage the walls, furniture11.6%
Don’t know the best way to brace furniture11.4%
Know what to do, but don’t think I can do it myself11.5%
Makes the room look ugly5.0%
No particular reason10.8%
Don’t know1.8%

The respondents were then shown a card describing what a hazard map was. These contain information prepared by local government on predicted earthquake strength or tsunami height, estimates of casualties, evacuation routes and evacuation points.

Q3: Which one of the following best described your actions regarding hazard maps? (Sample size=1,757)

Have confirmed earthquake disaster information on a hazard map24.9%
Went to confirm earthquake disaster information on a hazard map, but couldn’t find one3.9%
Haven’t confirmed earthquake disaster information on a hazard map, but want to do so56.5%
Haven’t confirmed earthquake disaster information on a hazard map, and don’t have plans to do so7.7%
Don’t know7.0%

Q4: Supposing you had an earthquake early warning broadcast system installed in your home, what sort of preparations do you think you would make? (Sample size=1,757, multiple answer)

Confirm what sort of actions such as hiding under a table, going to a safe area at home, would be needed51.1%
Ensure there was a safe area within the home41.4%
Talk with family about that sort of actions should be taken33.1%
Nothing particularly comes to mind8.0%
Don’t know0.7%

Q5: What do you think are good ways to send earthquake early warnings? (Sample size=1,757, multiple answer)

Mobile phone53.0%
Disaster management wireless broadcast speaker system48.0%
Broadcast at work, school45.7%
Broadcast inside deparement store, supermarket, etc40.1%
Broadcast within station39.7%
Computer display, audio16.4%
Home intercom syste,9.8%
Dedicated device5.3%
None in particular0.5%
Don’t know0.2%
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1 Comment »

  1. John J. Wang said,
    April 10, 2012 @ 01:24

    Referring to “Emergency preparedness kits in high demand
    By Connie Thompson Published: Mar 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM PDT ”, I venture to take this opportunity to introduce our company to you that we are a new and small company but with strong R&D and manufacturing capability of green energy.

    Our unique electricity shoes, LED flashing shoes and heating shoes will be on production around November 2012. Commercial samples will be available around September 2012.

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    It is designed for young people who intend to show off.

    The vamp of shoes will display LED patterns or color when user is walking or dancing in the night.

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    People, who need to stay, work or moving outdoor in cold winter time, can warm their feet by wearing our heating shoes. The shoes can generate a warm temperature for the insoles by walking or marking time (marching on the spot at a slow pace).

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    Plastic Electricity Floor:

    If everything goes smooth, we will develop “Plastic Electricity Floor” with built-in micro generators and high-illumination side lighting Plastic Optical Fibers for the applications on existing stairways (for emergency evacuation during fire alarm in the night), footpath in gardens, mountain walkways and sightseeing locations, etc. in 2013.

    We expect to have the opportunity to distribute our unique Electricity Shoes, LED flashing Shoes, Heating Shoes and Electricity Floor in the world in the near future.

    Thanking you and looking forward to hearing your comments on above.

    With best regards,

    John J. Wang

    Feng & Wang Co., Ltd.
    5th Fl., No. 9, Gaopeng Road, Yangmei City, Taoyuan County 326, Taiwan
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    TEL. #: (886) 3475 – 3783
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  1. April 7, 2011 @ 20:56

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