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All Canadian citizens resident in Japan are strongly encouraged to register their presence in the country with the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. The essential purpose of registration is to facilitate and expedite communications between the missions and resident Canadians in Japan during local emergencies, in order to ascertain their well-being and that of their family and to provide them with consular assistance to the extent possible. The information you provide will not be used for other purposes or otherwise divulged to any persons or governmental agency.

You can either register on-line or download a registration form. Registration forms are also available from the Consular section of the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.

Measures to take in anticipation of an emergency *

Although the Japanese Government is responsible to provide emergency, relief, and medical services in the event of an emergency in Japan, Canadian Government offices and the Canadian Embassy will assist you to the extent possible. Such assistance will most likely take the form of determining your whereabouts and well-being; conveying information on your status to your family in Canada; collecting information and, to the extent possible conveying information to you about both the emergency situation and Japanese Government emergency services; and if deemed warranted, assisting in a group evacuation of Canadians from the affected area.

However, you can and should prepare yourself NOW for dealing with a possible emergency. Here are some measures to take in anticipation of an emergency:

  • Communicate with your City Hall or the Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters of your area to find out about the exact location of the "Safety Evacuation Areas," where it is possible to get refuge, water, food supply, and medical support and access banks of specially coloured public telephones that will be given service priority in an earthquake situation. (Tokyo area maps are available upon request from the Embassy.)
  • Prepare an emergency kit stored in a back pack, containing items such as a flashlight and spare batteries, a portable multi-band radio and spare batteries, candles and matches, non-perishable food, drinking water, purification tablets for making water drinkable, a comprehensive first-aid kit, blanket, appropriate shoes, sweater or coat, socks, toiletries, a supply of essential prescribed medication pain relievers, cash and valuables.
  • Consider obtaining a cellular phone with spare batteries.
  • Keep sufficient cash on hand to meet your needs for at least 72 hours.
  • Keep important documents in a safe but readily accessible location. Ensure your passport has at least six months validity.
  • Carry medical insurance which is accepted in Japan.
  • Ensure that your family in Canada knows where you live and how you can be contacted.

Measures to take when an earthquake strikes

The following measures, which are not intended to be exhaustive, should be considered in the event of a major earthquake.

  • First, stay calm, stay put, and take cover under a strongly constructed piece of heavy furniture, such as a deck, table or bed, or stand in an inside doorway away from windows. Don't immediately rush outside.
  • Turn off all sources of fire the second you feel any movement that could be associated with an earthquake, immediately extinguish any flames and shut off all gas appliances.
  • Immediately open an exit door to an escape route as doors often become jammed in an earthquake.
  • Protect yourself and your family from injury against falling furniture, glass and other unsecured objects:
    • take refuge under a sturdy table, crouch in a strong doorway in a load bearing wall; or brace yourself in an inside corner of a room;
    • shield your head with a coat, cushion or blanket;
    • stay away from windows, mirrors, glass doors; avoid hanging objects that might fall; keep clear of bookcases, cabinets and other pieces of heavy furniture that might topple or spill their contents.
    • stay away from stoves, heating units and fireplaces.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Obey instructions from emergency officials and listen to the designated emergency band of your portable, battery operated radio for instructions.
  • If you are outside, find shelter in an open space away from buildings, overhead wires, power lines and telephone poles, trees and branches, or anything that might fall. Avoid steep slopes where mud slides might occur.
  • If your are downtown, hazards increase, especially in areas where there are high-rise buildings. Windows and building facades can shower the streets with glass and heavy objects. Get under a strong doorway, or crawl under a parked vehicle.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, don't try to use the elevators or the stairs during the quake. After the quake, be careful moving down stairs. They may have been weakened by the tremors. If you are in an elevator, stop it at the nearest floor, get off and take cover.
  • If driving a car, stop on the left side of the road. Keep the centre of the road clear and open. Remain for protection in the car until the earthquake movement stops. When you exit the vehicle, leave the key in the car, close the windows, but don't lock the doors.
  • If you are in a subway or train, it will stop, but do not leave the train or subway unless it is absolutely necessary. Follow instructions of subway or train personnel. Underground is said to receive less shock than above ground and is considered relatively safe.
  • Drinking water: Be careful about water sources. Don't drink tap water or use toilets until you know the water and sewage lines are intact. Contaminated water lines could spread disease leading to an epidemic. Overflowing toilets will create a health hazard. If you are at home at the time of the earthquake, once the quake is over, if possible, store potable water in bathtubs and buckets.

Evacuation: If you do have to evacuate:

  • Go to the officially designated "Safety Evacuation Area."
  • Proceed on foot and in a group where possible. Follow the instructions of police or other officials.
  • Protect your head with a helmet, if available. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long slacks and low-heeled comfortable shoes.
  • Take as little baggage as possible. Carry bags on your back to leave both hands free.
  • Before evacuation, shut the doors and windows of your house.

The consular warden network

The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo is inviting Canadians residing in Japan to volunteer as consular wardens as part of the Embassy's Consular Emergency Contingency Plan.

One of the main roles of the Canadian Embassy in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, is to ensure that there are open lines of communications between members of the affected Canadian community and the Embassy. In order to react to any crisis situation in an efficient and timely manner to the needs of Canadians, the Canadian Embassy is establishing a warden network throughout Japan that would serve as a crucial communications link between the Canadian community and the Embassy.

As a consular warden, you would essentially play a liaison role between the Canadian community in your area of responsibility and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. The position is strictly voluntary, without remuneration of any kind. It offers, however, an inestimable community experience and the unique opportunity to reach out to your fellow Canadians in the event of an emergency.

You will find below an outline of the responsibilities that a consular warden would assume. If you are interested in becoming a consular warden, please contact the Consul in charge of the Consular Services of the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo by fax at (03) 5412-6289 or by mail at the following address: Canadian Embassy, Consular Section, 7-3-38 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8503.

Your co-operation will help us to serve you better!

Outline of responsibilities of consular wardens

This is a brief overview of the basic responsibilities consular wardens will assume as part of the Consular emergency contingency plan, in time of need:

  • serve as a communications link between the Canadian community and the Embassy;
  • act as an information resource person for the Embassy; and
  • assist, if possible, the Embassy in rescue efforts as necessary.

In an emergency situation, the essential role of a consular warden is to facilitate communications between Canadians residing in their area of Japan and the Embassy, to ascertain their well-being and provide assistance to the extent possible. To retain an up-to-date list of Canadians in their area of responsibility. The Embassy will provide the consular warden with a list which it will update periodically.

To know, to a certain extent, where each Canadian family is located.

To report to the Embassy the "Safety Evacuation Areas," identified by Japanese authorities in their area of responsibility, where Canadians could gather in case of an emergency to seek refuge, and get food, water, or medical support.

To identify, for further reference, those Canadians who could provide their own transportation in an emergency situation and those who would need transport and/or assistance to move. If the situation warrants, in consultation with and on instructions from the Embassy, to assist in planning and supervising the withdrawal of Canadians from their area to a safer area or a designated evacuation point.

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