Emergency evacuation plans for MNCs in Japan

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  • 16 Mar 2011 15:36
    Message # 546814
    JHRS (Administrator)

    What are other international companies doing for their locally hired employees in case the nuclear situation worsens and everyone in Tokyo needs to be evacuated?  Our expats are being arranged to be flown to their home countries, but a big question is how and what to do about our local employees. Would love to hear what other companies are thinking.

    On a separate note, what are other international companies doing about supporting the areas hit most by the earthquakes, in terms of sending supplies, gathering donations etc? 

    -- HR Head, Foreign-affiliated company in Tokyo

  • 16 Mar 2011 16:43
    Reply # 546820 on 546814
    Terri Johnston / Tokyo

    Heres some calming news received from one our friends downtown.

    ==========================================

    I have just returned from a conference call held at the British Embassy in Tokyo. The call was concerning the nuclear issue in Japan.

    The chief spokesman was Sir. John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, and he was joined by a number of qualified nuclear experts based in the UK. Their assessment of the current situation in Japan is as follows:

    • In case of a 'reasonable worst case scenario' (defined as total meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion) an exclusion zone of 30 miles (50km) would be the maximum required to avoid affecting peoples' health. Even in a worse situation (loss of two or more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be significantly more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor.
    • The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the levels of radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of sea water can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a major incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami could lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations, leading to the above scenario.
    • The bottom line is that these experts do not see there being a possibility of a health problem for residents in Tokyo. The radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels affecting pregnant women and children - for normal adults the levels would need to be much higher still).
    • The experts do not consider the wind direction to be material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected.
    • If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation should be much improved after ten days, as the reactors' cores cool down.
    • Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned.
    • This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the reactor went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an exclusion zone of 30 miles would have been adequate to protect human health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public coverage of the Fukushima crisis.
    • The Head of the British School asked if the school should remain closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due to fears of radiation. There may well be other reasons - structural damage or possible new quakes - but the radiation fear is not supported by scientific measures, even for children.
    • Regarding Iodine supplementation, the experts said this was only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation (those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption of iodine is, in any case, not healthy.
    =========================================

  • 16 Mar 2011 16:52
    Reply # 546823 on 546814
    Anonymous

    Many inernational expats are leaving Japan, with/without requests and guidelines frm headquarters. Re local employees, there has been no clear instruction except stay home and try not to go out much.

    Some may consider supporting special holidays and travel expense, but not heard of any so far. Some large companies using heli's to evacuate employees from Tohoku area, is just about I heard so far.

  • 16 Mar 2011 22:00
    Reply # 546890 on 546814
    Kazu Hodota
    "Hello,

    I am living in Kawasaki City, close Tokyo and we have many time earthquake everyday, however nuclear power plant is 300 KM away from Tokyo. I think, you know, Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster will be bad conditions at near nuclear power plant, maybe 30 km from nuclear plant. In Tokyo, we have to care a huge earthquake in future, not this nuclear power plant disaster, I think.

    Yours,
    Kazu Hodota" -- Kazu Hodota [Asia Pacific & Europe @ LinkedIn]
  • 17 Mar 2011 11:01
    Reply # 547368 on 546814
    Taki in Akasaka area, Tokyo
    Dear all, 

    Rescue Japan is trying to help rebuilding earthquake victims life by collecting and delivering supplies - Dry-food, Bottled water, 
    Clothes, Blankets and toys for the children,
    and Pacifica Consultants is one of the designated drop-off locations.
    There are a few more locations as well -
    Please visit the site for more information 
    http://www.tokyomedia.jp/

    I am aware that many of you may have already left the town but I much appreciate if you could join this relief effort and donate anything you think is helpful for the victims. 
    Donations will be picked up on Friday (it might change - will let you know) 

    Pacifica Consultants 
    Chez Irene 2F
    7-4-7 Akasaka 
    Minato-ku Tokyo
    http://www.pacifica.co.jp/page/ATCMP.HTM
    Tel : 03-3568-6433
    Mobile: taki93@i.softbank.jp 

    Again, I appreciate for your kind support.

    Best 
    Taki 



    JHRS wrote:

    What are other international companies doing for their locally hired employees in case the nuclear situation worsens and everyone in Tokyo needs to be evacuated?  Our expats are being arranged to be flown to their home countries, but a big question is how and what to do about our local employees. Would love to hear what other companies are thinking.

    On a separate note, what are other international companies doing about supporting the areas hit most by the earthquakes, in terms of sending supplies, gathering donations etc? 

    -- HR Head, Foreign-affiliated company in Tokyo


  • 17 Mar 2011 15:59
    Reply # 547474 on 546814
    Bruce (Administrator)

    A different organization also asked a similar question to their HR leader contacts in Japan. The results of their quick survey can be downloaded at the JHRS Quake Center Resource Downloads. The purpose of their survey was to "check on what Japan HR Leaders are currently doing to ensure employee safety as well as business continuity, so that initial best practices can be shared during this critical time.

    I hope that this can provide some insights and help for those looking for answers and assistance to HR leaders in Japan.

    Best regards,

    Bruce McLin

    Last modified: 17 Mar 2011 15:59 | JHRS (Administrator)
  • 18 Mar 2011 22:10
    Reply # 548553 on 546814
    Drew Bishop
    "As a consultant who includes disaster response as part of his portfolio, I hope they are facilitating a relocation process for families that request it BEFORE evacuation is required. A sharp company will being that process immediately. If any are looking for someone experienced in this area, I just finished in Haiti and am available.

    And, from the OD side, taking this action at this time, even if it later proves preemptive, will send an incredibly positive message to staff and will help facilitate the company's rebuilding process." -- Drew Bishop [Global Asia Network @ LinkedIn]
  • 18 Mar 2011 22:55
    Reply # 548584 on 546814
    Yoshiharu (Yoshi) Matsui
    "Just a few input on supporting activities for the affected areas by private companies and some others.
    - consumer goods co. ->
    http://jp.pg.com/message110314/index.htm
    - IT co. ->
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoftpri0/2014493463_microsoftcommits2milliontojapanearthquakerelief.html
    - automotive co. ->
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/victims-earthquake-tsunami-japan,1715995.html
    - electronic appliances co. ->
    http://panasonic.net/news/2011/info.html
    - ceramics and engineeered materials co. ->
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/-tsunami-relief-efforts,1707552.html
    - food services co. ->
    http://www.colowide.co.jp/
    - operation Otomodachi ->
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/compacflt/sets/72157626119790243/?page=4 "
    -- Yoshiharu (Yoshi) Matsui [The Japan HR Society @ LinkedIn]
  • 20 Mar 2011 17:38
    Reply # 549573 on 546814
    Juntee Terr
    Reminder of the Importance of the below Natural Catastrophe and Disaster Plan:

    When natural catastrope occurs, often times individuals, families and organizations are caught off guard on what they do next. 

    With the recent disaster in Japan .. it is an eye opener and a reminder to everyone that a Disaster Plan is necessary in order to have an immediate and alternative approach in coping wiht the disaster.

    Reminders and Tips for Disaster:
    1. Create an Action Plan for Disaster
    2. Identify areas for safety and let everyone involved is aware of the location
    3. Identify alternative means of communications
    4. Identify alternative routes and approach when seeking for safety
    5. Identify emergency supplies that are essential and useful
    6. Have accessible supplies of foods, medicines, and drinkable water. Oftentimes there is a shortage of food and other supplies during disasters
    7. Habitually fill your gas tank when it reach half full. This can be useful when a transportation will be needed
    8. Ideally, have a batterized radio that provides you information, and item that provides light when there is a disruption of utilities
    9. Identify locations of your closest family, relative or a friend
    10. Keep extra pairs of clothes and warm blankets in your emergency supply

    When your organization is operating abroad, one of the important reminder is to identify what natural disasters exist in the Host Country for your employees safety.  Then create a Disaster Plan that is relevant and practical within that locality.

    Perspectives:

    It would be ideal to review your disaster plan regularly with all involved so that everyone will be ready at any time the natural disaster will take place.

    When  creating an Expatriate Disaster Plan do not copy and paste a plan that was a US made or made from another country.  A Rule of Thumb is to create a plan that is sensible, realistic and appropriate to the conditions at the Host Country.

  • 21 Mar 2011 23:15
    Reply # 550275 on 546814
    Shinsuke Yashima
    "Thank you for comment, Jun and Willam.

    I was introduced helpful URL to understand the situation of reactors in Fukushima as follows:
    http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=132&storyCode=2059188

    I would be happy to be of any service to you.

    Regards,

    Shinsuke" -- Shinsuke Yashima [
    The Japan HR Society @ LinkedIn]
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