Japan govt. to hold quake drill on centenary of Great Kanto Earthquake

Friday marks the centenary of a devastating earthquake that shook Tokyo and surrounding areas, leaving more than 105,000 people dead or missing.

The magnitude-7.9 Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1, 1923 caused violent tremors, tsunami, mudslides and extensive fires. A Cabinet Office report says the quake flattened upward of 100,000 homes.

In 1960, the government designated the date as Disaster Prevention Day to raise public awareness of the importance of preparedness for quakes, tsunami and other natural disasters.

This year, the government will hold a drill simulating its response to a major quake that could hit Tokyo or its vicinity.

The exercise is based on the scenario of a magnitude-7.3 quake hitting central Tokyo shortly after 7 a.m. and triggering powerful jolts across the greater metropolitan area.

Cabinet ministers and other government officials will gather at the prime minister's office and set up an emergency disaster response taskforce. They will confirm the extent of damage and how authorities are responding.

They will also hold a teleconference with officials of Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, to find out the extent of damage and what assistance is required.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio will then call a mock news conference to explain the government's response and call for cooperation from the public.

Other disaster drills will take place across Japan on Friday. They will include joint-response training in Sagamihara City, which will bring together firefighting and rescue officials from Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, as well as five major cities.