The Disaster Prevention Day
(September 1st)

●防災の日 Bosai-no-hi; the Disaster Prevention Day; Disaster Drill Day
●防災対策 disaster prevention measures
●防災計画 disaster prevention plan;
(万一の場合)代替 [防災] 計画 contingency plan
●避難命令 evacuation order
●避難場所;避難所 disaster shelter
●避難訓練 evacuation drill; fire drill
●避難する (to) take refuge; (to) evacuate
●避難梯子 fire escape
●天災 natural disaster
●地震 earthquake; quake
●関東大震災 the Great Kanto Earthquake
●台風 typhoon
●防災用品 emergency supplies
●非常持ち出し袋 emergency kit; emergency bag;
survival kit; survival bag
●懐中電灯 flashlight
●ラジオ radio
●飲料水 drinking water
●缶詰 canned food

September 1st was designated as Bosai-no-hi, the Disaster Prevention Day, in 1960 (Showa 35th yr).

Disaster Prevention Week is from August 30th to September 5th every year.

The government and other public institutions hold various events, drills, and meetings to raise awareness of disaster prevention measures.

People take part in evacuation drills or fire drills in their communities, workplaces, or schools.

It is a good opportunity to check emergency kits and shelters, and to ensure that all furniture and electrical appliances are secure and in no danger of falling over.

Nowadays, we not only have to prepare for natural disasters, such as typhoons, landslides, floods, and earthquakes, but also for accidents that may occur at atomic power plants or national emergencies such as war and terrorism.

There are two reasons why Bosai-no-hi falls on September 1st.

According to the solar calendar, September 1st is the 210th day after Risshun; the first day of spring.

Traditionally, this day has been called ‘Nihyaku-toka’, the start of the typhoon season.

Around this time, rice begins to bloom, and farmers often suffer damage to their crops.

The other reason why September 1st was chosen is the Great Kanto Earthquake.

At 11:58 am, September 1st, 1923 (Taisho 12th yr), the center of Japan, the Kanto area, was struck by a great earthquake of magnitude 7.9.

The total number of dead and missing persons was about 150,000 people.

As the earthquake occurred at 11:58 am, lunch preparation time, it led to rampant fires in the area.

About 130,000 houses were completely destroyed by the quake, and about another 450,000 houses burnt down in the ensuing fires.

In the chaos of the quake, about 6,000 Koreans were slaughtered when a rumor broke out that Koreans were rioting.

Furthermore, a rumor spread that the socialists were behind the supposed Korean riot.

The government used this rumor to further justify oppressing the socialists.

In the Kansai area, some carry out an evacuation drill on January 17th, rather than on September 1st.

The 7.3-magnitude Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, whose seismic epicenter was in the Akashi Strait, occurred at 5:46 am on January 17th, 1995 (Heisei 7th).

In recent times, when speaking of earthquakes, the Great East Japan Earthquake, at 2:46 pm on March 11th, 2011 (Heisei 23rd yr), more often comes to mind than the Great Earthquakes of Kanto and Hanshin-Awaji.

The coast of the Tohoku and the northern Kanto districts were devastated by the huge tsunami immediately after the earthquake.

The earthquake and tsunami caused nuclear accidents where radiation leaked including a meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear power plant and about 165,000 people were forced to evacuate at the height of chaos.

Japan is a country subject to frequent earthquakes, and furthermore, a bigger earthquake in the near future is anticipated.

Every year, Japan is hit by downpours in the rainy season and by typhoons in autumn.

It is impossible for humans to suppress such natural threats.

Therefore, we should always try to be prepared both physically and mentally in order to keep damage to a minimum.


(Please see “Our Disaster Prevention Day Experience” for further information.)

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