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November 19th is "Stockpile Day"

One Sunday on returning home from a jog, Mina, an exchange student, runs into her host father, Shiro, who is busily tidying up some shelves.

November 19th is "Stockpile Day"

Mina

Hello there, you look rather busy. What are you doing?

Shiro

Hi Mina. I’m checking what we have stockpiled to be used during times of disaster and also considering what else we may require. I am doing so because “Stockpile Day” on November 19th is fast approaching.

Mina

Stockpile Day? I've never heard of it.

Shiro

Stockpile Day is a new occasion established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government which will commence from this year. It is designed to give each household in Tokyo an opportunity to once annually consider what preparations they should make in order to respond to large-scale disasters such as earthquakes that might strike directly beneath the metropolitan area.

Mina

Household preparations? But if a large-scale disaster were to occur, wouldn't we go to an evacuation shelter?

Shiro

If our house collapsed or was burnt out, of course we would be forced to live at an evacuation shelter. However, people whose homes were not damaged would stay and continue to live in them while awaiting assistance. If that were to happen to us, what we have to think about is being able to survive without being able to use lifeline services such as electricity, gas and water, and we also need to consider the possibility that the delivery of supplies would be impeded by rubble on the roads.

Mina

In other words, in view of the time required for lifeline services and distribution networks to recover, what each household has to do is to prepare for itself sufficient stocks of food and everyday items.

Shiro

In actual fact, with respect to the stockpiling I have done until now, I have always thought about laying aside special things that we wouldn't normally use such as hardtack biscuits and head-mounted lamps. However, if I think about the possibility of living at home after a disaster has struck, then I believe it is more important to consider the daily stockpiling of necessary items.

Shiro then explains about "daily stockpiling".

Shiro

With respect to the food that we eat and the items we use on a daily basis, the idea is to buy a little bit extra and consume the oldest items first on an ongoing basis during the course of our everyday lives. Furthermore, by buying just a little bit more on a regular basis to replace what we eat and use, and thus keeping a small supply on hand, when a disaster strikes, we will be able to use such stockpiles in the short term while living at home. Such thinking represents the logic behind "Stockpile Day."

Mina

I see! It seems to be something that everybody can do easily.

Shiro

Furthermore, with respect to items that become particularly necessary in times of disaster such as portable gas stoves, emergency toilets and rechargeable radios, etc., "Stockpile Day" represents a great opportunity to confirm they are in working order and to change their batteries, etc.

Mina

By the way, if I include myself, there are now five people in this family. As such, what items and how much of each should we be stockpiling?

Shiro

Yes, as might be understood, what and how much to stockpile can vary based on the structure of the family. Mina, have a look at this. This is a book called "Disaster Preparedness Tokyo" which was distributed to each household in Tokyo the other day. I am thinking of drawing up a list of necessary items for our family while referring to the stockpile lists included in it.

Mina

So I can see here that they have listed a reference model for a four-person family comprised of a couple, a baby and a grandmother. It seems easy to use this guide because you can develop a specific image in your head. Let me also help you with the arrangements and shopping!

Shiro

Thanks very much. Because tonight I am also thinking of using some canned food that is approaching its use-by date when cooking dinner, it would be great if you could help me with that as well.
■Citizen's Stockpiling Project on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disaster Prevention Website http://www.bousai.metro.tokyo.jp/1001855/index.html (in Japanese only)