Evacuation drill held in central Tokyo in preparation for major quakes

Residents and company workers at a complex in central Tokyo have participated in an evacuation drill ahead of the 12th anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

About 500 people joined the event at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Friday. The drill was held for the first time in four years after a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The complex, which includes a 54-story building, is said to be able to accommodate up to 5,000 evacuees in addition to the residents and workers there in times of disaster.

Participants in the drill practiced crouching while moving through a smoke-filled tent and learned how to use a fire extinguisher.

They also were put into an earthquake simulator to experience what a tremor at the top of the Japanese seismic intensity scale feels like. After it was over, they quickly closed gas taps as instructed.

A resident said that the various exercises made her feel better prepared for disasters.

The head of the residents' association that organized the event said the drill helps increase the sense of unity among workers and residents in the community. He added that he wants to help the community develop into a place where people can help each other in times of disaster.