Pre-Departure Preparedness & Personal Safety


Japan is located in a seismically active zone, and you may experience earthquakes during your work term as a result. While most do not pose problems from time to time, you may feel the effects. Most Japanese have come to live with these occurrences and you may want to familiarize yourself with emergency procedures should an earthquake strike. Everyone prepares for such occurrences in Japan and preparatory information can be obtained from the municipal office. In addition, many companies and dormitories have protocols regarding how to react when an earthquake strikes. Please ensure that you observe the protocols if provided by your host company or dormitory.

Tips that may be of assistance as most students will experience at least one earthquake while in Japan. Prepare by:

  • Reading an earthquake pamphlet
  • Assembling an emergency kit
  • Learn how to shut off the gas and electricity
  • Fasten tall furniture to your walls in your dorm/apartment
  • Study your municipal emergency plan

When an earthquake strikes:

  • Open an external door – you don’t want to be trapped
  • Shut off the gas and electricity
  • Take cover under a table or in a doorway away from sheet glass
  • Don’t rush outside – falling wires and roof tiles injure many
  • Monitor the radio and TV information
  • In a public place obey all instructions from officials
  • Call home – remember that even a modest earthquake gets reported in Canada and families worry!


  • Keep at least one phone card in your wallet for emergency or international call
  • Carry your Japanese ID and your health insurance card with you
  • Learn where the nearest hospital is to your work and home location

To prepare students for travelling abroad, the UBC Go Global program also offers learning modules covering various aspects on travel safety. Please feel free to visit the Go Global safety abroad page.