Govt. holds drill on Disaster Prevention Day

The Japanese government held an anti-disaster drill on Wednesday, based on the scenario that a major earthquake had hit the capital Tokyo.

Japan observes Disaster Prevention Day on September 1 every year, to commemorate the Great Kanto Earthquake, which hit the Kanto region in eastern Japan, including Tokyo, on the same day in 1923.

Wednesday's drill was based on the scenario that a magnitude 7.3 quake had hit shortly after 7 a.m., with its epicenter within Tokyo's 23 wards. Areas in southern Kanto were assumed to have experienced jolts measuring seven or six-plus on the Japanese intensity scale ranging from zero to seven.

The government set up emergency headquarters online, by connecting the prime minister's office with government agencies via the internet. The headquarters simulated grasping the scope of the emergency situation and discussing possible countermeasures.

It also held a video conference with Yokohama City, near Tokyo, where extensive damage was expected. The government headquarters shared damage information with the city and described the immediate dispatch of police officers, firefighters and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel. It also conveyed that emergency transport routes would soon open.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide also held a mock news conference at 9 a.m.
He explained how the government would deal with the disaster, including the provision of shelters equipped with anti-virus measures. He also called on people in affected areas to evacuate to safer places and not to panic.