Report from the "Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad Debut" event, held September 7, 2015 (Monday)

A number of popular local characters have come together to form the Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad.

The Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad was formed to raise awareness of the need for tsunami preparedness, with Kumamon, Funassyi, and other popular local characters serving as the core members.

The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 remains deeply ingrained in people's memories. Many valuable lives were lost in the tsunami that struck Pacific coastal areas in the Tohoku Region. As a result, the Act on Promotion of Tsunami Countermeasures was established in June 2011, and designates November 5 as " World Tsunami Awareness Day ".

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"November 5 = World Tsunami Awareness Day " was chosen based on the story of "The Fire of Inamura (Rice Sheaves)" in which a man set fire to piles of rice straw to draw villagers to a high place before a tsunami struck in Wakayama Prefecture following the Ansei Nankai Earthquake on November 5, 1854.

The Cabinet Office has carried out a variety of programs aimed at increasing understanding and interest in tsunami preparedness measures. As one of these programs, it requested the cooperation of the Japan Local Character Association and formed the Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad for conducting tsunami preparedness educational activities. The squad made its debut at an event on September 7.

On this date, after receiving a direct appeal for cooperation from Eriko Yamatani, Minister of State for Disaster Management, the 5 local characters who form the core members of the Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad appeared on the stage. These characters are Shinjo-kun (Susaki City, Kochi Prefecture), Ossan (Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture), Funassyi (Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture), Kumamon (Kumamoto Prefecture), and Kiichan (mascot of the Kinokuni Wakayama National Sports Festival). The characters promised Minister Yamatani that they would broadly promote the importance of tsunami preparedness by participating in tsunami preparedness events, and by appearing in videos, posters, a homepage, and other materials that were released beginning that day.

During the debut event, a tsunami preparedness PR video (90 second version) was screened, and presented the following key points regarding tsunami preparedness.

1.
When a tsunami occurs, each person should evacuate immediately and as quickly as possible.
2.
Two promises
  • - Decide with your family where you will escape to.
  • - Make the utmost effort to protect your own life.

Regarding these 2 points, Ossan made the following comments. "So it is important that you regularly promise with your family and friends to evacuate to high ground as quickly as possible when a tsunami occurs. Trust that your family is also evacuating, and get yourself to high ground as fast as your legs can carry you. Reunite with your family after you have evacuated." The 5 characters then demonstrated the "Tsunami Evacuation Pose" that had been newly created.

This pose shows a figure with both arms in a running pose that expresses evacuating as fast as possible, in a pose that is bent back and looking up to express not just running away but running towards higher ground. The 5 characters together demonstrated the pose several times.

Finally, as the representative of the Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad, Funassyi had this to say. "Today I am very pleased to have introduced the Tsunami Bosai Promotion Squad! On World Tsunami Awareness Day, November 5, we will be holding an event at MARUCUBE in the Tokyo Maru-Building! Thank you everyone for today!" Minister of State for Disaster Management Eriko Yamatani also spoke to conclude the event. "I hope that the core squad members will broadly and forcefully communicate the importance of quickly and rapidly evacuating to high ground. With everyone's cooperation, we can minimize the damage and save many lives. Good luck. Thank you very much!"