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Disaster shelters shouldn’t have to deprive anyone of their dignity

18 5 6

The high probability of a mega-earthquake striking off Hokkaido made headlines in late December.

In Japanese mythology, earthquakes were believed to occur when a giant "namazu" (catfish) acted up.

Because this creature is ready for mischief all year round, I wondered what it would be like to survive a disaster in the dead of winter.

So, I participated in a recent disaster drill organized by the Japanese Red Cross Hokkaido College of Nursing in Kitami, Hokkaido, and spent a night in a local gym that served as a mock shelter.

Outside, the lowest temperature registered a bone-chilling 10 degrees below zero.

I lay on the gym's floor and........

© The Asahi Shimbun