The New Zealand Government, through its overseas posts, tries to assist New Zealand citizens where possible in emergency situations such as natural disasters or civil unrest. This does not diminish the obligation of New Zealanders overseas to provide for their welfare themselves, for example by taking out medical insurance, making adequate preparations, keeping themselves informed of a situation likely to affect their safety, or being prepared to meet costs incurred in rendering assistance.
Japan is a seismically active country, therefore New Zealanders residing here are advised to take particular steps to prepare themselves for the possibility of a major earthquake or tsunami. Preparations should include arrangement of an emergency supply of food, water and other essentials enough to last several days, familiarising oneself with the location of local evacuation assembly points, and obtaining information from your local city/town office on disaster preparedness.
Earthquake and tsunami casualties in Japan in recent years have included people caught inside collapsed older houses and buildings, or caught inside buildings in hilly areas struck by sudden landslides or low-lying coastal areas struck by tsunamis, and people struck by heavy toppling unsecured furniture or equipment. Japan is also hit annually by a number of strong typhoons and extremely heavy rainfalls especially over the summer season which typically cause flash flooding in low-lying areas, overflowed rivers and landslides. New Zealanders are advised to keep these risk factors in mind when selecting holiday or long-term accommodation.
The Embassy in Tokyo is not equipped to serve as a refuge for large numbers of displaced people following a major natural disaster like an earthquake. Foreigners in Japan come under the control of the local authorities and are expected to seek assistance and refuge from them in the first instance.
For useful information on earthquake preparedness and response, see the earthquake survival guide(external link) pepared by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government(external link).
The Japan Tourism Agency(external link) offers a helpful free mobile app called "Safety tips(external link)" which provides users with earthquake early warning and tsunami warning notifications when such events affect registered locations.
In the event of a major disaster occurring in your locality, family and friends in Japan and abroad are likely to hear about it in the media and will be concerned for your welfare. Try and make contact with them as soon as you are able to.
Help us find you in an emergency, so we can check on your well-being or send you important information. - See more at Safe Travel(external link).