ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Nankai Trough, Tokyo focus of quake drills
Publication Date : 03-09-2013
The Nankai Trough region and the Tokyo metropolitan area were the focus of rigorous safety drills held Sunday across the country to minimise damage from earthquakes and other natural disasters.
On Sunday, which was Disaster Prevention Day, about 12,000 people participated in a disaster drill in Chiba city that was jointly organised by Tokyo and its surrounding four prefectures and five major cities. among the participants was Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“I will do my best to make this country more resilient against earthquakes by utilising the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake,” Abe told the press after boarding an earthquake simulation vehicle together with primary school students to experience a jolt with a strength of upper six on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.
As part of the drill, the Metropolitan Police Department conducted traffic control at 120 locations along major roads including the Ring Road No. 7 to allow passage of emergency vehicles. With Kanagawa and Saitama prefectural police departments both participating, a 4.6-kilometre section of Kawagoe Kaido between Akatsuka-Shinmachi in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward and Asaka in Saitama Prefecture was temporarily blocked off for 20 minutes. General traffic was detoured to a bypass so as to allow passage of about 60 emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire engines, Self Defence Force vehicles and others.
100,000 casualties seen
With the participation of the SDF and US forces stationed in Japan, a large-scale, comprehensive disaster-preparedness drill took place in Shizuoka Prefecture, where more than 100,000 people could be killed if a massive Nankai Trough earthquake occurs.
In the coastal area of Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, where tsunami are predicted to hit within a few minutes of such a quake, about 7,000 drill participants including local residents were taken to tsunami evacuation towers built on relatively flat land.
The drill also included SDF members accompanied by search dogs to rescue survivors trapped in houses buried in landslides and to transfer those with serious injuries from a U.S. military chopper to an ad-hoc first aid centre set up on a Marine Self Defence Force ship stationed off the coast.
Another disaster drill was conducted based on an assumed eruption of Mt. Fuji. A 70-year-old neighbourhood assembly chairman of the town in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, that hosted the drill said, “Although it may be difficult to accept the eruption of Mt. Fuji as a real threat, we need to prepare an emergency contact system and evacuation plans."
Fukushima Prefecture held a comprehensive disaster-preparedness drill for the first time since the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The drill was conducted based on an assumed jolt of upper six on the Japanese seismic intensity scale in the city centre due to an earthquake with an epicentre under the area around Mt. Adara, a volcano on the west side of Nihonmatsu. The assumed quake would result in a volcano eruption alert level of 3, which would require restricting access to the mountain, compared to the maximum eruption alert level of 5, in which immediate evacuation is ordered. In the city, a drill to save climbers was conducted, with firefighters lifting victims by rope from a helicopter.