As a Japanese student, I must take issue with the story “Words to live by: The vocabulary of evacuation” in the Oct. 29 newspaper. The main message of the article is that learning the vocabulary used in emergence situations is becoming more necessary.

I agree with the idea that some vocabulary used by the media during Typhoon Hagibis was confusing. There was some criticism on social media about how their use of language was difficult to understand. However, I believe that the main problem is the low level of awareness and low sense of urgency Japanese citizens have toward disasters. It is not the fault of the language or social media. Japan had suffered much damage from catastrophes in the past, but what have we learned from it? Japanese citizens should be more aware of the dangers of disasters and raise awareness toward disaster reduction.

In fact, during the last typhoon many of my friends seemed like they did not take the situation seriously. Social network sites such as Twitter and Instagram were trolled by so-called bakattā, who post inappropriate acts on the internet to get attention. According to an online survey I saw, only 11.9 percent of Japanese take disaster-prevention measures for typhoons. This shows the low level of awareness even though we live in a disaster-prone country.

While the article states that it is important to improve vocabulary issues concerning typhoons, this is not the main problem that Japan is facing. Even if the news reports are vague, more people will be prepared for disasters if individuals gain more knowledge about disaster prevention.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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