Foreign Residents in Tokyo Join Multilingual Disaster Drill

In the previous year that has been filled with a number of calamities causing death and devastation in some places in Japan, some kind of training must be conducted in order to help the people, especially foreign nationals, to become more proactive and ready to respond in times of crises.

Apparently, the government’s efforts to mitigate the situation oftentimes are met with confusion and neglect of those who cannot expressly communicate in the language as of yet.

Foreign Residents in Tokyo Join Multilingual Disaster Drill
Image Credit: Misawa Air Base

Foreign Nationals in Tokyo Join Disaster Preparedness Drill

It is for this reason that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has conducted a disaster drill last Wednesday (January 16) in the Setagaya Ward to prepare foreign residents for the worst-case scenario in times of crises or calamities, as shared in a report by the Japan Times.

It can be recalled that Japan’s 2018 was marked with a series of major disasters, such as earthquakes, flooding, and even a devastating heat wave that lasted for several months. According to studies, there is a 70% chance that Tokyo would be directly hit by an earthquake within the next 30 years. It is for this reason that Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike shared in her opening remarks at the event that all of the residents, including foreign nationals, must be prepared for the worst.

The drill which has been annually conducted since 2006 involves a series of lectures, symposiums, and interactive demonstrations which aim to teach participants how to respond during an emergency situation. As participants rotate from one station to another, the group is accompanied by a translator or interpreter, and discussions are reinforced with pamphlets available in multiple languages to ensure clarity and comprehension.

To date, there are over half a million foreign residents in Tokyo, the majority of which coming from China (200,000), followed by Koreans (90,000), and Filipinos/Vietnamese (30,000). The governor believes that majority of these residents have not yet experienced an actual major earthquake.

The drill will educate residents regarding survival and the steps on how to summon help, as needed.

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