If an earthquake occurs while you are indoors, you should take cover under something sturdy. If there isn't a table or desk near you, cover your head and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture. If your stove is on, turn it off immediately. Open doors so that you don’t get trapped inside, and only use a doorway for shelter if you know it is strongly supported.
Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when entering into or exiting from buildings, or when they run outside panic- stricken.
What if I am Outside?
If an earthquake occurs while you are outdoors stay away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires, and watch for falling objects such as signs and bricks.
If you are driving, keep a firm grasp on the steering wheel, and gradually bring the car to a stop. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. You should vacate the central lane of the road, so that emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances can get through. Evacuate on foot, and leave the key in the vehicle and the door unlocked in case your car needs to be moved by emergency response workers.
After the first earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures.
Be aware of tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. When local authorities issue a tsunami warning stay away from the beach and evacuate to higher ground.
Rescue workers and volunteers say that one important thing for foreigners living in Japan to do is to get to know someone in their neighborhood and to get involved in community disaster prevention activities.
Prepare an evacuation kit in advance and locate your nearest evacuation shelter. Evacuation shelters will display a green and white sign displayed on the left.