Japan observes September 1 as National Disaster prevention day. A country situated at a geologically active area that is prone to powerful earthquakes, typhoons and volcanoes, Japan is obsessed with the safety of its people. After the powerful March 2011 earthquake and the equally disastrous tsunami that followed it, Japan is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the safety and well-being of its countrymen. In a latest appeal to its citizens, the Japanese government has made a strange demand to its citizens. They want the citizens to save toilet paper, reports ABC News.
You heard that right. Toilet paper, it is!
Now, while it may sound ridiculous asking people to stock up toilet paper, the directive issued by Japan’s Trade and Industry ministry does make sense when you look at it in proper context. The ministry is doing so because it realizes that over 40 percent of Japan’s toilet paper supply comes from industries that manufacture them in a high risk earthquake zone. According to ministry officials themselves, toilet paper is not something that is generally thought of as a relief material. Water, food and even clothing are given precedence over the lowly toilet paper during the time of a calamity says the Wall Street Journal. However, it is only after a disaster that most people realize the importance of having enough supplies of toilet paper at their disposal. Usually, it is at the last moment that they realize they do not have enough toilet papers and become desperate. Officials also worry that citizens may resort to using tissue paper instead of toilet paper in case of an acute shortage. This brings in its own share of problems because unlike toilet paper – which dissolves in water, tissue paper doesn’t and tends to clog toilets and drainage systems.
To change this attitude towards toilet paper, Japans Trade and Industry Ministry is promoting specialty toilet paper in high risk areas in Japan for use during times of emergency.
According to Toshiyuki Hashimoto, a ministry official in charge of paper products, Japan could face a nationwide toilet paper shortage crisis for a month if a disaster of the scale of the 2011 tsunami strikes the country again. Situated on one of the most active seismic regions on earth, experts warn of an imminent large earthquake in the region in the not too distant future.
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan claimed the lives of over 19,000 people in spite of the fact that they were well prepared for such kind of disasters.
The National Disaster Prevention Day is also marked by people across Japan from all walks of life taking part in annual drills across the country. These drills are aimed at checking the state of preparedness of the country in case a real calamity strikes.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]