TSUNAMI If a tsunami occursTSUNAMI
If a tsunami occurs
Japan's physical geography makes the nation highly susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. If you have ever encountered an earthquake in Japan, you might have seen or heard warning messages like “There is no worry about a tsunami connected with this earthquake”. Do you know what you should do if this tsunami warning message turns affirmative? Being prepared and well-informed will make the difference. This will help you to stay safe and enjoy your stay in the Land of the Rising Sun.
When Do Tsunamis Occur?
- ①Earthquake = Tsunami
- Don’t let your guard down when you feel an earthquake in Japan. Keep in mind that earthquakes, regardless of their level, can generate powerful tsunamis. In case you are near the coast, and you feel a ground shake or see unusual wave activity, move inland or to high ground immediately. It may be too late if you wait for a warning.
- ②If you hear or see an official tsunami warning
- Even if you do not feel shaking, leave coastal areas immediately and evacuate to a safe place if a tsunami warning is issued.
- ③Do not wait for the drawback before tsunami
- Not all the time the drawback (the recession of the water) can be obvious. Do not wait around the shoreline until you can see the tsunami approaching.
Categories of Tsunami Warnings
In Japan there are 3 categories of tsunami warnings which indicate the tsunami height, expected damage and action to be taken.
What To Do If a Tsunami Strikes
- ①Higher Than Farther!
- When a tsunami warning is issued, go to a higher place rather than a farther place. In case tsunami reaches a height of more than 10 meters, even the tsunami refuge building（※1）is a dangerous place to be. If you feel unsafe, try to reach even a higher place. Be aware of the fact that tsunami heights may exceed estimates.
※tsunami refuge building: building that can be used as a temporary shelter.
- ②Do not use a car!
- If you choose to use a car, you may end up stuck in traffic jam. There is also a high risk of being engulfed by tsunami.
- ③River areas are also threatened by tsunami!
- Be aware that not only coastal area, but also river estuary is potentially threatened by tsunami. It is very dangerous as tsunami can travel up rivers and streams from the ocean. Move quickly to a safer place such as elevated ground or evacuation building.
- ④Do not leave the tsunami evacuation location!
- A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves, from a few minutes to hours apart. Do not assume that after one wave the danger is over. Do not go back to the area until the tsunami warning is cancelled. Tsunami waves are expected to hit repeatedly, and in some cases, reaching greater heights.
It is important to be aware that Japan is prone to tsunamis and to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. If you know how to react in case of tsunami warnings, you can protect yourself and the people around you.