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Natural Disasters

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Preparedness and Countermeasures

Japan is a country with four distinct seasons, and a variety of seasonal disasters such as torrential rains and typhoons occur frequently. Due to the influence of the seasonal rain front, heavy rains fall from late spring to early summer, while several typhoons approach or descend upon Japan every year from summer to autumn.
As these heavy rains and typhoons can cause various disasters such as landslides and flooding, confirm dangerous locations and determine where shelters are beforehand, and make adequate preparations in your daily life.

Japan is also a land with a high level of seismic activity compared with other countries. Earthquakes are the shaking of the ground which ensues due to the sudden slippage of usually stable underground tectonic plates along a portion of their edges.

When a strong earthquake occurs, the shaking can cause the collapse of buildings, outbreak of fire, and other calamities. In each of our daily lives, we should prepare for such an event to minimize damage.

Furthermore, a great earthquake, the Tokai Earthquake, is expected to occur in the near future, covering a large area and centered in the Tokai region. This Tokai Earthquake has occurred about every 100 to 150 years in the past. Since its last occurrence, more than 150 years have passed.

It is generally difficult to predict earthquakes, however the Tokai Earthquake offers the possibility of prediction. Should its occurrence be predicted, the Prime Minister will issue the Official Earthquake Warning to call attention.

In addition, because the Tokai Earthquake interacts with other earthquakes at the same time, there is the chance that the even more severe Nankai Trough Earthquake could occur. In the event of the Nankai Trough Earthquake, not only will a wide area experience strong earthquakes, but an extensive coastal area will be damaged by tsunami. In order to minimize disaster-related damages as much as possible, the city is preparing to provide warning information by television, radio, and other methods as fast as possible before or after the earthquake. In this event, we ask for the participation of every city resident to absolutely protect their own lives and the lives of their family, proactively gather disaster-related information, and move to a safety evacuation area as soon as possible.

Disaster and Fire Prevention Guide-Nagoya City

Surviving Earthquakes - Survival Manual - Nagoya Inernational Center  Part 1(外部リンク)別ウィンドウ  Part 2(外部リンク)別ウィンドウ  Part 3(外部リンク)別ウィンドウ

Torrential Rain and Typhoon Preparedness

On September 11–12, 2000; August 28–29, 2008; and September 20-21, 2011;

the Tokai region received great damage by various natural catastrophes, including torrential rains and Typhoon Roke. Torrential rain is heavy rain that falls on a concentrated area in a short period of time. It is comparatively difficult to predict because of its characteristic tendency to occur suddenly and without warning, so please be attentive to the nature of falling rain.

Rain and strong winds caused by a typhoon, depending on its course, can cause flooding and unpredictable destruction of buildings. Pay special attention to weather information during the typhoon season. When a typhoon is approaching your area, make the following preparations:

  1. In case of electrical blackout, please prepare a flashlight, portable radio, and fresh batteries.
  2. Pay attention to weather information on radio or television.
  3. Reinforce windows and be sure to close any amado, or sliding shutters, if you have them.
  4. Bring objects at risk of being blown away (such as potted plants or laundry poles) indoors, or fasten them securely.
  5. Do not go outdoors unnecessarily.
  6. In areas at risk of flooding, move household goods to a higher location.
  7. Prepare such things as food, drinking water, and medical supplies.
  8. Prepare food, valuables, etc. for quick evacuation.
  9. In at-risk regions where there is a possibility of flooding, prepare for quick evacuation at all times. (Please see a flood hazard map (Japanese only).)
  10. Confirm the locations of Shelters beforehand at your local ward office and the Nagoya City Official Website.

Earthquake Preparedness

It is impossible to predict earthquakes. Therefore, it is important to continuously make adequate preparations and react correctly in the case of an emergency. Please take the following daily precautions:

  1. Have a family disaster prevention meeting to determine Earthquake Safe Areas as well as a means of contacting your family (such as the Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171 system or the Disaster Message Board service).
  2. Implement anti-falling preventative measures, such as securing furniture to walls with metal fittings.
  3. Store 7 days worth of food for your family and prepare 3 days worth in a backpack as an emergency supply, together with such items as flashlights, radios and valuables, for easy carrying to a Safety Evacuation Area.
  4. Check the ground stability beneath your house or building.
  5. Do not place combustibles near stoves, etc.
  6. Prepare fire extinguishing tools such as fire extinguishers and buckets of water, etc. in case a fire should break out.
  7. Check the locations of shelters and evacuation routes.
  8. After the Official Earthquake Warning is announced, the City will announce an evacuation advisory or evacuation order to people living in areas designated unsafe (areas in which tsunami or landslides are anticipated). Check beforehand at your local ward office if your residential area is designated as an unsafe area.
  9. Actively participate in the fire drills organized by voluntary anti-disaster organizations and neighborhood associations.

In Case of an Earthquake

However calm you may be in daily life, panic may strike in times of emergency. In order to act in a calm manner, the following should be learned so that they become automatic behavior:

  1. If the shaking is so great you cannot move, assume a low posture and protect your head.
  2. If you can move, protect your head with a helmet or cushion, and take refuge in a room where the furniture has been made tip-resistant or under a sturdy table or in a similarly safe place.
  3. Open the doors to secure an exit.
  4. Put out any fires once the building stops swaying.
  5. Be careful of broken glass indoors.
  6. When going outdoors, remain calm.
  7. Prepare various routes to the evacuation site, and evacuate by the safest route.
  8. Acquire accurate information through radio and television.
  9. Be cautious of landslides and tsunami tidal waves.


Shelters (e.g., elementary and junior high schools) have been established to accommodate persons who must evacuate their homes because of difficulty in daily living, due to damage from earthquakes, typhoons or floods, as well as for persons who are evacuated in advance from high-risk areas. Meanwhile, in case of a disaster involving a large-scale fire, parks and other facilities with sufficient space to protect evacuees from such a fire have been designated as Safety Evacuation Areas. In addition, places where evacuees can take temporary refuge and check the fire situation on their way to Safety Evacuation Areas have been designated as temporary evacuation sites. Moreover, some structures have been designated as tsunami evacuation buildings so that they can be used as temporary shelters if a giant tsunami warning is issued in an area where there is no high ground nearby. Please check evacuation routes in advance, and check for dangerous spots along the route to the safe areas.

“Your Ward’s Earthquake Hazard Map” provides information such as on damage expected to be caused by an earthquake, as well as on locations of shelters and Safety Evacuation Areas. “Your Ward’s Tsunami Hazard Map” is a tsunami version of the earthquake hazard map, and provides information such as on locations of tsunami evacuation buildings. Also available is “Your Ward’s Flooding and Inland Water Hazard Map, which provides information such as on places of shelters. For further details, please refer to the Nagoya City Official Website, or contact your local ward office or the Nagoya International Center.

Map of Shelters & Safe Areas

Sign indicating location of a Safety Evacuation Area

Evacuation Behavior Basics

Preparation for evacuation is essential. Please evacuate to a safe place in accordance with directions from your ward office, the police, the fire department, and volunteer anti-disaster organizations or when faced with the threat of flooding, tsunami (tidal waves), landslides, collapse of housing or the spread of fire.

  1. Before evacuation, check that you have put out all fires, and turn off your gas line at the source, as well as switch off electrical breakers.
  2. Do not forget to leave a message at home describing your whereabouts, contact information, and health condition prior to evacuation.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing, and do not forget to protect your head when an earthquake occurs.
  4. Evacuate with provisions and supplies in an emergency backpack.
  5. Evacuate on foot, never by motor vehicle.
  6. Firmly hold the hands of the elderly and children.
  7. Have a family meeting on disaster prevention to determine which shelter(s) to use.
  8. When going to Safety Evacuation Areas or to shelters, avoid narrow streets and do not walk near walls or rivers.
  9. Once an earthquake has occurred, distance yourself from the shore as quickly as possible, even if you cannot visually recognize the occurrence of tsunami. It is expected that tsunami will hit the city without causing white waves, and that the entire sea surface will rise.
  10. Stop what you are doing (swimming, fishing, etc.) and distance yourself from the shore, in cases of a tsunami advisory.
  11. Tsunamis occur in waves. Watch conditions from a safe place until the tsunami warning or tsunami advisory has been lifted.

Telephone Services during a Disaster

In times of disaster, telephone lines into the affected area are expected to become overwhelmed. As rescue and recovery efforts by emergency organizations and the telephone services they depend on can be hindered as a result of incoming calls, please refrain from making unnecessary or non-urgent phone calls or redialing repeatedly.
Cases in which one is unable to get through to those in the affected area, the Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171 (telephone service), Disaster Emergency Message Board (web171), etc., as described below, is available for use.

Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171 (phone service), Disaster Emergency Message Board (web171)

1. Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171
When an earthquake or other disaster occurs, telephone lines may become overwhelmed with calls to the affected area by people checking on the safety of their loved ones, and conditions making it difficult to get through may last for days.
Therefore, the Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171 Service is available to confirm the safety of family, relatives, and friends in such a situation. This is a service in which those outside the affected area can confirm the safety of family, friends, and others through playback of a message recorded by those persons in the affected area and stored at the Disaster Emergency Message Dial Center.
The Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171 Service is only available during times of disaster. First dial 171, then follow the voice instructions to record or listen to a message. For more information in English about this service, please visit the NTT WEST Website at外部リンク)別ウィンドウ.

General directions for use are listed below, however, for more details regarding settings and use, please call 116 or email NTT WEST

Directions for Use

Usable Telephones

NTT WEST and NTT EAST subscribed phones (touch-tone and pulse dial types), ISDN, public phones, and Hikari Denwa (optical IP telephone service) and special public phones installed by NTT WEST and NTT EAST at evacuation facilities and other locations in the event of a disaster. However, it is not possible to use ISDN or Hikari Denwa (phone service) with a pulse dial phone.

It is possible to use the service from cellular phones, PHS, or carriers other than NTT WEST or NTT EAST. Please contact your carrier for information about phone services that can be accessed and fees.


Phone use for recording or playing messages from the NTT WEST or NTT EAST phone service is free. When calling from phone services of other carriers, please inquire about the fees to the carrier.


This service will be quickly initiated when an earthquake of 6 or greater on the JMA seismic intensity scale occurs, and also when disasters and other emergencies result in conditions making it difficult to connect to disaster areas through telephone lines. At that time information about the initiation of this service will be made available by NTT WEST and EAST through media such as television, radio, and the Internet according to the situation.

Time for Recording

30 seconds are allotted per message.

Period Message will be Saved

Until the end of the period the service is provided for

Number of Messages

Up to 20 messages can be recorded from one telephone number. (information available after initiation of service)

*The number of messages and storage period differs based on the disaster.

How to use the Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171

Dial 171 and follow the pre-recorded instructions to record or playback a message.

How to use the Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171

Operating procedure

Recording a message

Listening to a message


Dial 171



Choose to record or playback.

Guidance: This is the Disaster Emergency Message Dial Center. To record a message, press 1. To playback a recorded message, press 2. To record a message using a secret code, press 3. To playback a message recorded with a secret code, press 4.

Without a secret code

With a secret code

Without a secret code

With a secret code





Guidance: Please enter a 4-digit secret code.

Guidance: Please enter a 4-digit secret code.




Dial the telephone number of the person in the disaster area.

Guidance: If you are in the disaster area, please enter your home telephone number or the telephone number of the person you would like to contact, beginning with the area code.

0xx xxx xxxx

Connected to the Message Dial Center.


Recording or listening to a message

Guidance: A message will be recorded for telephone number 0xx xxx xxxx (secret code xxxx). If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, please press 1. If you are calling from a pulse-dial phone, please wait. If the telephone number you entered is incorrect, hang up and dial again.

Guidance: Messages for telephone number 0xx xxx xxxx will be played back. If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, please press 1. If you are calling from a pulse-dial phone, please wait. If the telephone number you entered is incorrect, hang up and dial again.

Pulse-dial phone

Touch-tone phone

Pulse-dial phone

Touch-tone phone

Please wait for guidance to begin.


Please wait for guidance to begin.


Guidance: Your message will be saved. You have 30 seconds for your message after the tone. When you have finished speaking, please hang up.

Guidance: Your message will be saved. You have 30 seconds for your message after the tone. When you have finished speaking, please press 9.

Guidance: Messages will be played back, starting with the newest.

Guidance: Messages will be played back, starting with the newest. To repeat a message, press 8. To play the next message, press 9.

Recording a message

Listening to a message

Please wait for guidance to begin.

When you have finished recording, press 9.

Guidance: End of recorded messages. Please hang up.

Guidance: End of recorded messages. To record an additional message, press 3.

Guidance: The message will now be repeated. To re-record, press 8. If you do not need to replay the message, press 9.

Check the recorded message.

Please wait for guidance to begin.

Guidance: Your message has been saved.



Guidance: Please hang up.



The call will complete automatically.

Terms of Use

Trial Periods

In Times of Actual Disasters

Available Areas

All domestic areas

All domestic areas

Useable Telephone Numbers

Phone numbers for land-lines, ISDN, hikari (IP) lines and cell phones nation-wide

All phone numbers for land-lines, ISDN, hikari lines and cell phones in areas affected by the disaster.

Time for Recorded Messages

30 seconds

30 seconds

Period that Messages will be Saved

Until completion of the test use period

Until completion of the provided period

Number of Storable Messages

20 messages

Between 1 and 20 messages depending on the scale of the disaster

Points to Consider when Using the Service

  • Choose beforehand among immediate family members, relatives, and acquaintances the home number of the person in the affected area or other number of the person in the affected area to contact to use for saving and replaying messages.
  •  Please speak so that information can be accurately recorded within the allotted time.

2.Disaster Emergency Message Board web171

 In addition to the Disaster Emergency Message Dial 171 (phone service) for voice messages, NTT WEST provides a service that enables recording and viewing messages (text) called the Disaster Emergency Message Board (web171).

 This service allows people to record a message (text) using a phone number as the key for accessing the message board via the internet by people residing in affected areas (including evacuation centers, etc.) when a disaster occurs. The recorded message can be viewed using the phone number as a key by adding people from around Japan (and overseas).

 For more information about the English version of the Disaster message board in English (web171) please view:外部リンク)別ウィンドウ

 You can also download instructions (in English, Chinese, Korean) from the above link.

Start of use

When a earthquake or other disaster occurs, availability of the service will be announced by TV, radio, the NTT WEST website and other media.

 Go to外部リンク)別ウィンドウ and follow the instructions on the screen.

Number of messages that can be recorded and storage period

  • Number of messages that can be recorded
    20 messages per message board (message box)
    * When there are more than 20, messages will be deleted starting with the oldest and the new one will be saved.

  • Message boards (message boxes)
    With no user information: 1 board
    With user information: up to 20 boards*
    * User information must be registered in advance

  • Storage period
    Up to six months
    * For trial use: for the trial period

  • Text messages
    Up to 100 characters per message

Deleting messages

When the maximum number of messages is exceeded, they will be deleted starting with the oldest. All messages will be deleted when they are stored longer than the storage period (six months) or when the service is cancelled.

Supported languages

Language support
Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean
* The mobile website only supports Japanese and English.


Storing and viewing messages is free of charge. Some separate data charges may apply such as internet connection fees, provider usage fees and dial-up connection fees.

Usage examples

  • Cases in which one would like to get in contact with family or friends in an area affected by a disaster to confirm their safety.
  • Cases in which one would like to hear from family or friends in an area affected by a disaster to find out if they are safe.
  • Cases in which family members in an area affected by a disaster are in separate places and would like to get in touch with each other.
  • Cases in which you are in an area affected by a disaster and would like to let family and friends know that you are safe.

Trial Periods

  • Disaster Prevention Week: August 30th, 9:00–September 5th, 17:00
  • Disaster Prevention & Volunteer Week: January 15th, 9:00 – January 21st, 17:00
  • First and 15th of every month 00:00-24:00
  • New Years (January 1 from 00:00– January 3 until 24:00)
    * Note that call and data fees apply during trial use.

Minato Disaster Prevention Center

At the Nagoya Minato Disaster Prevention Center, you can experience intensity 7-level earthquakes artificially generated with an earthquake simulation machine, including those equivalent to past disasters, and also learn about the Ise Bay Typhoon through visual, sound and lighting effects.

For more information, call the Minato Disaster Prevention Center.
Address: 12-20, Komei 1-chome, Minato-ku, Nagoya (TEL 651-1100 FAX 651-6220)