Japanese government holds emergency drill premised on major earthquake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Firefighters conduct a mock rescue operation in Chiba as part of a joint drill by nine prefectural and municipal governments in the Tokyo metropolitan area on Thursday.

Drills to prepare for large-scale disasters were held across the country for Disaster Prevention Day on Thursday.

They included a government-led comprehensive disaster drill based on the premise that a magnitude-9.1 earthquake had occurred in the Nankai Trough off southern Wakayama Prefecture. Ministers gathered at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo to monitor the situation in the affected areas.

In the drill, the earthquake was said to have occurred at about 7:10 a.m., with 10 prefectures in the Tokai, Kinki, Shikoku and Kyushu regions experiencing strong tremors that registered 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.

At the Prime Minister’s Office, a meeting was held of an emergency disaster control headquarters led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Last year, a similar meeting was held online with ministers taking part remotely from their respective ministries and agencies. This year, they gathered at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The meeting also incorporated a teleconference, with Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura telling the government remotely that “tsunami had caused devastation” and making a mock request for the dispatch of an emergency firefighting squad. He also asked for push-type support, an emergency relief measure in which necessities are dispatched as soon as possible without waiting for detailed request from local governments.

Kishida and others then traveled to Chiba to observe a drill jointly held by Tokyo and eight other prefectural and municipal governments in the Tokyo metropolitan area.