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By Desiree Quijalvo
September 14th, 2012
A high-powered panel in Tokyo has created new earthquake guidelines for companies and citizens in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
According to the new guidelines, companies should keep their employees in the office for three days if a powerful earthquake hits the area. The guidelines encourage large companies to provide stranded citizens temporary shelter to keep them safe at the very least. The guidelines were created after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 affected all transportation networks in Tokyo.
An estimate by the Cabinet Office shows that about 9.89 million people will get stranded if a major earthquake directly hits the capital, also affecting Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures.
The Cabinet Office, the Tokyo metropolitan government and other entities make up the panel who created the guidelines, which was released Monday. The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), the Real Estate Companies Association of Japan and other organizations agreed to follow the guidelines. Under the guidelines, companies are required to store three days\ worth of food (nine meals) and water (nine liters) and a blanket for each employee. Companies are also asked to keep additional supplies for emergency that is equal to 10% of the recommended total on hand to help even those who are not their employees.
Moreover, buildings, assembly halls and schools will serve as temporary shelter for stranded commuters while stores and other infrastructures will be made as temporary shelters. Specifically, these shelters will measure about 3.3 square meters and should be enough for two people. Aside from this, companies are also encouraged to have emergency stocks of food and water for them.
East Japan Railway Co. has also stepped up, offering concourses and other areas of about 200 stations within 30 kilometers of JR Tokyo Station to be converted as temporary shelters that can hold up to 60,000 people in case an earthquake hits the city.
According to the guidelines, information will be relayed through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and other websites to keep people updated about the status of those affected by the disaster. Buses, taxi companies and other forms of transportation, are also called to take pregnant women, the elderly and handicapped people as priority while convenience stores and restaurants along major roads in the Tokyo metropolitan area have also been designated as support stations for those returning home after a serious disaster.
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