Foreigners participate in a Tokyo disaster drill conducted in simple Japanese

A disaster drill utilizing simple Japanese was held in Tokyo's Nakano Ward on Sunday to help foreign residents respond to disasters.

About 150 people, including foreigners and volunteer interpreters, participated.

Officials from the police department, fire department and Nakano Ward City Hall used a manual written in simple Japanese to show the participants how to respond to earthquakes and other emergencies. The manual contains short sentences featuring kanji combined with hiragana as a pronunciation guide.

The participants were instructed on what to do in the event of an earthquake, such as seeking shelter under desks or tables, or protecting their heads when there is no place to take cover.

Explaining how to make an emergency call, police officers stressed the importance of speaking clearly, accurately and calmly.

The officers asked participants to look for signs attached to utility poles showing addresses if they do not know where they are. They were also asked to mention the names of intersections and nearby shops if possible.

A Chinese woman in her thirties said the drill was a good experience, and it would help her to be better prepared for a disaster.

A senior fire department official said that he and other crew members should continue to study simple Japanese to communicate better with foreigners.