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Well that’s precisely what the people at the world famous Tokyo Skytree have been working out in preparation for the influx of tourists during the 2020 Olympics. As part of the drill, they needed to evacuate 100 foreigners from the 350m high observation deck down to ground level. Although the usual technique of a scary alarm bell and people waving their arms can get the job done, the confusion this created added fear and stress on the visitors’ part, resulting in a slower evacuation. So it appears that the ability to communicate is paramount, and the staff at Tokyo Skytree seem to have come up with a simple answer.

They ‘solved’ this problem with the use of portable translation devices carried by emergency response officials. It allowed them to communicate in Chinese, Korean and English to relay simple instructions over a megaphone, such as “Everyone please gather over here”. This could save time and lives in the event of an emergency.

With the 70 percent likelihood of there being a major earthquake in the next 30 years, it’s vital that the city is prepared. Foreign visitors should get acquainted with the city’s disaster preparedness manual before they arrive, which gives specific instructions on how to act in different environments (on the metro, driving on the motorway) if a quake strikes, and equally importantly, what not to do.