Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) observes an earthquake drill in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, on Sunday. Photo: KYODO
national

Japan holds nationwide disaster drills

39 Comments

Annual disaster drills were held across Japan on Sunday, with the central government's exercise based on a scenario that a massive earthquake originating in Tokyo had rocked the capital and surrounding regions.

Local governments also conducted their own drills assuming major quakes and tsunami in a bid to improve preparedness for natural disasters in the disaster-prone country.

Princess Kako attended a memorial ceremony for the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake victims in Tokyo, the 96th anniversary of the disaster that claimed the lives of an estimated 105,000 people.

The nationwide exercises, which are held every Sept 1, or Disaster Prevention Day, come just after torrential rain ravaged the southwestern main island of Kyushu last week, leaving at least three people dead and one missing. The day marks the anniversary of a magnitude 7.9 temblor that devastated Tokyo and its vicinity in 1923.

The Japanese government estimates that there is a 70 percent chance of a magnitude-7 quake occurring directly beneath Tokyo within the next 30 years. It believes the quake could kill up to 23,000 people and destroy 610,000 buildings in the worst case.

Sunday's drill held in Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures was based on a magnitude-7.3 earthquake, with its epicenter within Tokyo's 23 wards, hitting the capital at 7 a.m. The quake was assumed to register 7, the highest on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, in Tokyo, upper 6 in the surrounding prefectures, and between lower 6 and upper 5 in other areas nearby.

"The government is putting all efforts into helping victims and preventing extensive damage," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a meeting on emergency preparedness.

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, joint drills were held by Tokyo and eight prefectures including Saitama and Kanagawa, confirming steps in response to disasters such as collapsing buildings. The prime minister came to observe the drill, which saw around 5,000 people participate.

A disaster preparedness workshop was held in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, located near Atsuma, Mukawa and Abira, three towns devastated by an earthquake which rocked Japan's northernmost main island prefecture in September last year.

Meanwhile, in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a drill to respond to an assumed tsunami was conducted.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments
Login to comment

Ah. That explains the emergency announcement test on NHK yesterday - first time I'd seen one, I mentioned to my wife, since I was growing up in the US, when they were used to warn of an impending nuclear strike.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If Abe is showing up THAT alone is a disaster!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

What a pose! lmao.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

If a disaster, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must be at least be dressed properly, this is a suit and tie occasion, the head up moment.

Not appearing as if Prime Minister of Japan is about to mount a fork lift.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

For some reason this seems to be a thing in Japan, I remember in 2011, huh why are all the politicians wearing overalls and what not.. I guess its suppose to have an 'all together' meaning to it.. but yeah an amusing peculiarity I suppose. Still earthquake drills, serious business for a serious thing.

A good reminder to make sure you have your emergency supplies in order.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

For heavens sake, KYODO the photo representation could have been a tad more appropriate, Shinzo Abe is not about to break out into song and dance

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I saw clips of abe's team in the "situation room" having a video-conference with Morita in Chiba. It's a joke. Training should be as close to reality as possible. My opinion...educate the public for a whole month on TV, the net and printed media about how to prepare and what to expect. Then on that day, it's lights out baby. No power, no water. Purposely cause a traffic jam by diverting traffic and blocking roads. 24 hour Organized chaos training. Then see how the public reacts, gather data and examine what needs to be improved. JSDF and first responders mobilization, emergency medical facilities switching to back up generators, lifeline restoration, hazmat containment, and for businesses, BCP in action. These things need a stress test. Sure people are going to piss 'n moan, but they would have been forewarned for a whole month to prepare so there's no excuse. If they can't handle this exercise, what's going to happen when the Nankai trough earthquake happens? Scientists have already warned the public of its eventuality, and the lessons from 3/11 should not be wasted or the deaths of the thousands that perished would have been for naught.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Abe's no-brand trainers/sneakers are a disaster.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No Sorry

Politicly this is the twenty first century, the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, that is the Prime Minster of Japan sorts out his attire appropriately.

Shinzo Abe is notm never going to realistically climb onto a crane, this politics is shallow and hollow

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If Abe is showing up THAT alone is a disaster!

LOL!! Brilliant!!!!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A missed opportunity to reveille the alter ego "Super Mario" he should have donned his overalls and zipped around in a go-cart gesticulating wildly sorting out nothing but finally enjoying himself.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wear The suit, then the task in hand is to delegate.

Leadership!!

Lead, don't t pretend to be anything else

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Unfortunately, when a disaster strikes, it does not follow the disaster planning rule book; and these smartly-clothed oyajis, however well-meaning, will be forced to think and improvise, something that they are not very good at.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

What isn't immediately obvious is that these "drills" are the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of meetings, addresses, meetings to discuss meetings, reports, special committees and the inevitable discussion and compromise. No wonder they bear little resemblance to actuality. Anything involving education has gone through this process.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Disaster management, it's not happening, it's not happening, foreign media have it all wrong!

OH!!

emergency housing in Lew of compensation for all.

Everything is under control, those bags of tainted soil along the river? Everything is under control.

look I'm just like you. I'm dressed just like you.

Emergencies over, don't talk about it that's a regrettable course of action.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

he's observing he shouldn't be in workman's clothes

4 ( +4 / -0 )

They had the tsunami evacuation drills at the beaches nearby and nobody moved an inch. I didn't know about these drills so was a little "alarmed" when I heard the sirens go off. Wish the waves were a little tsunami-like since they were so small yesterday.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yet, the west doesn't even hold disasters drills.

Incorrect.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

For believers ( reminder)

Mark 13:8

For nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, there shall be earthquakes in diverse places, there shall be famines, these things are the beginning of the travail.

With what's in the air in that area, I believe Japan is preparing for a multi- dimensional scenario, not just earthquakes.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Good! In this country with a history of some the most powerful earthquakes and tsunami in the world disaster training is a must.

The clothing worn by PM Abe and other local government officials is that is worn when there is a disaster. Better than parading around in suits and tries.

Early warnings and quick early response saves lives.

The prime minister is the one in charge of the SFD and decides whether they are needed or not. They were quickly employed when the Tohoku disaster.

During these drills there a lot of behind the scene activity. Testing of systems, communications.

Would people prefer that the drills are not held?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The PM and other politicians wear work outfits during disasters and camouflage jackets when visiting SDF camps. Maybe it’s just and Asian thing as I’ve seen Xi and Moon wear cammies and work clothes as well.

The only thing close I’ve seen in the US is the President wearing a cap with the name of whatever aircraft carrier he’s visiting. (Other than Bush II wearing a flight suit)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

All previous prime ministers attended the annual drills and all prime ministers wore the same style disaster clothing.

The 2011 earthquake proved that Japan's disasters measures are not impressive at all, on top of having a laughable safety practice for nuclear power plants.

I disagree. The response to the 2011 was very impressive with the immediate dispatch of many tens of thousands of SDF troops searching collapsed buildings for survivors. The deployment of American troops from Okinawa who did a great job including having the destroying Sendai airport in Miyagi up and running one week later so that emergency supplies could be flown in.

The government at that time was the democrat party and not the LDP.

Which could before had the world's third ever strongest earthquake, enough power to move the entire country and a 40 m tsunami and then a nuclear disaster?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Hurricane Andrew which hit Florida in 1992 and the Katrina Hurricane in 2005 which hit New Orleans are both times when the U.S. government agencies were very slow to react to the needs of the people experiencing them.

My parents were in the Hurricane Andrew and my brother from NY had to travel there just to take them and others food.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Which country before had the world's third ever strongest earthquake, enough power to move the entire country and a 40 m tsunami and then a nuclear disaster?

Japan is the country which sets the standards for natural disaster preparedness the world over from holding drills to having evacuation centers to advising citizens to emergency packs ready.

In Britain there are no emergency drills even for the flood plains. But recently there was a real case of the emergency services from saving a broken dam from bursting which would have flooded a town.

The 2011 disasters were overwhelming and no nation could have prepared for those.

In my younger day I was involved in mountain rescue and during the summer months we trained on most weekends because training is important in saving the lives of others and also saving your own life in those rescue moments.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Honest Abe looks just about right in that get up.  My local janitor would likely look just as good in his PM suit.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Abe looks like he's never even had to pick up a box his whole life.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Agree with dbsaiya's plan of simulating a real-life drill, making it high-stakes would make it all the more meaningful and encourage the people to really participate. I wonder if Abe's clothes are meant to be the uniform of government officials during drills? It is better to wear than than a restricting suit is all I can say

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Photo of PM Kan in the Tohoku disasters

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/10/japan.nuclear/t1larg.naoto.salary.jpg

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In the Tohoku disasters, more than 120,000 buildings were destroyed, 278,000 were half-destroyed and 726,000 were partially destroyed, 500,000 made homeless.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What's important is to think about what YOU can do - first, to save yourself, and then to help others.

After the 7.2 Kumamoto quakes, I grabbed my dog (there was too much debris for him to walk safely) and found myself in the hive mind - they decided where to go, and I blindly followed. Once I ensured that my wife and dog we're safe, I returned to my house to retrieve my three tents - two quite large - and designated one for the elderly, one for the mothers and children, and the small one for a pregnant woman with a small child.

Setting those up was exhausting, so my dog and I slept in the elderly tent. Help came the next day, mostly in terms of volunteer work. The question is not what the government can do for you, but what you can do for your community. Think about it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Besides the necessity of getting people prepared for those disasters ......

.... this picture of PM Abe is just so great. Getting ready for some dance practice?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I tell you a disaster...that colour coordination.... disastrous!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I disagree. The response to the 2011 was very impressive

You did not understand what I meant in the first place. I was talking more about pre-disaster measures, proactive measures. The Japanese government has been warmed for decades about the risk of a big tsunami in that region and nothing was done about it. Instead tax payer money was spent on useless infrastructures. That's why I call those drills useless, since again they just try to make naive people feel safe. Once a major disaster hits, like a giant tsunami, little can be done. It's too late. That being said, during the 2011 earthquake, the response was nonetheless weak. It was clear that the country did not have the man power and technology to bring assistance to the population. This was even more evident with the nuclear disaster that followed the tsunami.

The government at that time was the democrat party and not the LDP.

Silly remark. The LDP has been in charge of this country for more than 70 years. The democrat party is irrelevant here. What Japan failed to address in order to better protect the population is the responsibility of the LDP, period. They are also responsible of having put in place and supported a deceiving and corrupt nuclear industry, which total ignorance of basic nuclear safety practices almost brought the entire country into a nuclear disaster at unseen scale.

And let's say the truth, during the course of the 2011 events, the LDP wouldn't have done better. They would have done probably worse given their track record of incompetence and they would have lied even more about the situation at Daiichi power plant.

Japan is the country which sets the standards for natural disaster preparedness the world over from holding drills to having evacuation centers to advising citizens to emergency packs ready.

BS. Again 2011 proved that standard to be quit weak. The more recent earthquakes in Kyushu and Hokkaido did the same. Also numerous other countries have measures in place for evacuation and advises for people to prepare for a en event.

In Britain there are no emergency drills even for the flood plains.

The comparison with Britain is silly and makes no sense. Japan has far more natural disaster than Britain, bigger in scale, intensity and frequency. And again, Japan does not seem to have efficient proactive measures. The leak of oil from at a local plant run by Saga Tekkohsho Co. following the torrential rain and the resulting flooding on Wednesday in Saga prefecture is another sign that the nation continues to neglect radical proactive measures that could be taken in areas known for a high risk of flooding.

Hurricane Andrew which hit Florida in 1992 and the Katrina Hurricane in 2005 which hit New Orleans are both times when the U.S. government agencies were very slow to react to the needs of the people experiencing them.

You could say the same for the Kobe earthquake if you want to compare things at that decade.

The 2011 disasters were overwhelming and no nation could have prepared for those.

This is utterly flat wrong. The government was warmed by numerous scientists about the risk of a earthquake in that region a decade before it happened. It was not taken seriously and efficient measure which could have saved life were not taken. One of them was to have an efficient evacuation plan in those areas which did not exist.

In my younger day I was involved in mountain rescue and during the summer months we trained on most weekends because training is important in saving the lives of others and also saving your own life in those rescue moments.

Mountain rescue and having to deal with a disaster with several thousands of causalities are two completely unrelated things. The fact that you are confusing both puts a serious doubt on your proclaimed rescue experience.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Nice pose. He looks like he would be more at home in a skirt.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

daito,

Great comments and as usual you are spot on.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Norm,

I was just thinking the same thing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

daito_hak

There are no disaster training days in Italy where I lived for some years. In the north there was a huge earthquake displacing and making many ttens of thousands homeless. The survivors were forced to live in tents. Even after receiving EU money after ten years many were still living in tents waiting for housing.

The Japanese government has been warmed for decades about the risk of a big tsunami in that region and nothing was done about it. Instead tax payer money was spent on useless infrastructures. 

No government could have prepared for the 2011 tsunami which sweep in along the entire NE coast and across to America and South America. There is a history of tsunami in that region, yes and there were warning from previous tsunami survivors about not living on the Miyagi plain.

Instead tax payer money was spent on useless infrastructures. 

What infrastructure spending are you quoting?

That's why I call those drills useless, since again they just try to make naive people feel safe. Once a major disaster hits, like a giant tsunami, little can be done. It's too late.

But it's not too late to rescue people from under collapsed buildings and help the survivors. People even survived the tsunami. Training helps the various groups and organisations. It's also good to have a national day to remind people they personally need to prepare for a possible disaster.

Silly remark. The LDP has been in charge of this country for more than 70 years. The democrat party is irrelevant here.

It's not a silly remark because the prime minister in charge of the nuclear disaster was Kan so the DSP holds responsibly for the decisions taken with the nuclear disaster. We will never know if it was better or worse had their been another PM. The LDP hold must of the responsibility for setting the required safety standards.

If the decision to cool the reactors with sea water they could have exploded creating a worse disaster.

This is utterly flat wrong. The government was warmed by numerous scientists about the risk of a earthquake in that region a decade before it happened. It was not taken seriously and efficient measure which could have saved life were not taken. One of them was to have an efficient evacuation plan in those areas which did not exist.

All the science of earthquakes and tsunami are reviewed.

You don't get to call my comments silly or even question my involvement in mountain rescue. You don't get to insult me!

In my opinion disaster training is better than not having them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abe looks like he needs a wee.

The Cabinet dessing in spotless, recently ironed workmen's clothes at times of disaster or during these drills is ridiculous. If a UK politician did this everyone would, rightly, assume they were taking the piss.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He looks like he's about to drop that dope new hip hop album:

Yung Abe - Disaster Drills

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites