Japan aiming to launch system for post-disaster medical services on ships

Japan's government is aiming to launch a system to provide medical services on ships at sea in case of large-scale disasters.

The government notes that in order to be prepared for such emergencies, measures must be fortified, taking into account the country's geographical characteristics and that it is surrounded by the ocean.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio instructed relevant ministers at the first task force meeting on Tuesday to compile a draft of a detailed plan by the end of the year.

He said boats were used after the powerful January 1 earthquake on the Noto Peninsula to transport relief goods and to temporarily house survivors. He said using boats to provide medical services must become a reality.

The government plans to aim to start operating the system in fiscal 2025, beginning next April, while keeping in mind the idea of using private-sector car ferries.

Discussions are expected to continue on using boats in case of infectious disease outbreaks, taking into account lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic.