Japan gov't calls on citizens to stockpile toilet paper

Aug 29, 2014

The Japanese government is calling on its citizens to prepare for the worst-case scenario, should a major disaster hit the quake-prone archipelago: Stockpile toilet paper.

The industry ministry has launched a public awareness campaign ahead of the September 1 national Disaster Prevention Day, reminding citizens to have enough emergency supplies of food and sanitary products to survive the aftermath of a major earthquake.

"Be prepared and have no regrets," the ministry said in a statement, as it advertised a special exhibit on disaster preparedness to be held in its downtown Tokyo building.

"At times of major disasters, like huge earthquake, an insufficient number of useable toilets always becomes a problem," it said, adding that a toilet paper shortage compounds the issue.

In the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and killer tsunami disaster of March 2011, Japan experienced a shortage of many things including toilet paper, as families hoarded everything from water to gasoline, emptying store shelves even in areas relatively unharmed by the natural disaster.

The industry ministry has highlighted the vulnerability of Japan's toilet paper production capacity, which is 40 percent concentrated in Shizuoka prefecture, in a region where experts say a disastrous quake and tsunami could strike in the future.

The ministry is urging the public to keep enough rolls of toilet paper to last for at least one month, the period the government believes is needed for the toilet tissue market to return to normal after a major disaster.

"Using Disaster Prevention Day as an opportunity, please start stockpiling toilet paper at home," the ministry said, referring to the September 1 anniversary of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 100,000 people.

The anniversary is used as a national training and awareness day to encourage people to plan ahead for disasters.

Toilet paper was the object of nationwide consumer hoarding during the oil shock of 1973.

The Japanese government and civil society routinely urge the public to keep a sufficient stockpile of emergency supplies, including a portable toilet, food, a flash light and cash.

But only a small fraction of the Japanese households admit to having readied an earthquake kit, despite the frequent reminders of the country's vulnerability to disasters.

Explore further: News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan estimates monster quake could kill 320,000

Aug 29, 2012

Japan's government on Wednesday unveiled a worst case disaster scenario that warned a monster earthquake in the Pacific Ocean could kill over 320,000 people, dwarfing last year's quake-tsunami disaster.

Tokyo mega-quake 'would kill over 9,000'

Apr 18, 2012

More than 9,600 people would die with nearly 150,000 injured if a mega-quake struck Tokyo, a disaster that would also level large parts of the Japanese capital, a government projection said Wednesday.

Indian rail is world's largest 'open toilet': minister

Jul 27, 2012

A top Indian minister has proposed projects worth $130 million project to rid India of the scourge of open defecation and clean up a rail system he described as the world's "largest open toilet", reports said Friday.

Recommended for you

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

14 hours ago

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

14 hours ago

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

20 hours ago

The typical Norwegian owner of a solar heating system is a resourceful man in his mid-fifties. He is technically skilled, interested in energy systems, and wants to save money and protect the environment.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JamesG
not rated yet Aug 29, 2014
The alternative is too awful to mention. They're not getting mine if the world falls apart!!