“ALWAYS get to the scene as soon as possible”, is a mantra for the Tokyo picture team. It is advice which features prominently in the pocket-sized guide to emergency coverage procedures produced by our boss Michael Caronna - a guide which has also become indispensible in everyday coverage too.
Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active areas and the Tokyo Pictures team’s emergency earthquake coverage plan is well-developed and paid off recently when we covered a powerful earthquake in Northern Japan.
The guide suggests a very clear and concise principle: “Have equipment and photographers in place at all times and just go when it happens.”
So we keep long lenses, a Nera sat-phone, a small generator, extra batteries, gasoline container, a portable TV, a radio and survival kits with emergency food, bottled water, wet weather gear and the like, in the Company car. rain gears, etc, in the Pix van and the contents are checked regularly. We carry laptops and basic camera gear with us day and night.
Because a strong quake in Tokyo may also tumble our office building, we have a second parking space near where Issei Kato, Toru Hanai and I live, about 10 Km away from Tokyo office. Every night one us takes the van, our mobile office, and parks it near where we live and brings it back to office in the morning.