Tokyo firefighters hold annual drill in centenary year of Great Kanto Earthquake

Firefighters in Tokyo have held their annual New Year's drill. They conducted the drill to prepare for a possible major quake, as this year marks the centennial of the magnitude-7.9 Great Kanto Earthquake.

About 2,500 people, mostly firefighters and members of volunteer fire brigades, took part in the event at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center on Friday.

The chief of the Tokyo Fire Department, Shimizu Hirofumi, said in his opening address that last year saw a number of natural disasters across Japan, including quakes registering 5 on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7, as well as heavy rain.

He added that he hopes to strengthen the department's firefighting capabilities and Tokyo's disaster preparedness in light of the recently released update of an estimated megaquake hitting the capital.

An exercise was held under the scenario of a megaquake striking directly beneath Tokyo. Participants checked procedures for rescuing people trapped under rubble.

Members of a group that works to preserve traditional firefighting skills also performed stunts on top of 6-meter ladders.