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TOKYO -- A message Japan began delivering Monday is a bit unusual, but true enough: Don't wait until it's too late to think about toilet paper. The government and paper companies kicked off a "Let's stockpile toilet paper!" campaign to mark Disaster Prevention Day, warning of a possible crisis because nearly half of the supply comes from one of Japan's most earthquake-prone areas.
Officials said people immediately think of food and water as emergency supplies, but easily forget toilet paper, and get desperate when it's too late. As part of the campaign, makers are offering a tightly rolled, 490-foot-long, single-layer toilet paper that lasts more than twice as long as a regular roll. A family of four should be able to survive for a month on a six-roll pack, priced at 460 yen ($4.40) and with a five-year expiration date, said Satoshi Kurosaki, chairman of the Japan Household Paper Industry Association. "Toilet paper is an indispensable part of daily life," Kurosaki said. "So we should be prepared." Japan takes disaster preparedness seriously, especially since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which killed about 19,000 people.