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Disaster Prevention Day Drills
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An annual comprehensive disaster prevention drill by the Japanese Government was held on September 1, Japan's national "Disaster Prevention Day."
This year, the comprehensive disaster prevention drill was carried out on the assumption of earthquakes hitting the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Tokai region, with particular emphasis on a possible earthquake hitting the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The drill began with the scenario of an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 with its epicenter in Tokyo Bay occurring around 7:10 a.m. All Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, immediately assembled at the Prime Minister's Official Residence and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi opened an extraordinary Cabinet meeting where a decision was made to establish an emergency disaster countermeasures headquarters. Prime Minister Koizumi then held a press conference wherein he announced the government's countermeasures and called on the public to respond in orderly fashion and cooperate in lifesaving and fire extinguishing efforts.
After the press conference, Prime Minister Koizumi held a video conference with Mr. Keiichi Tsuruoka, the Mayor of Chiba City during a meeting of the emergency disaster countermeasures headquarters that was held with all Cabinet ministers in attendance.
In the afternoon, Prime Minister Koizumi observed the disaster prevention drill conducted by eight prefectures and municipalities on the assumption of an earthquake hitting the Tokyo metropolitan area and experienced an earthquake of magnitude 7 in an earthquake simulation vehicle at the planned construction site of the Soga Sports Center Park in Chiba Prefecture. The disaster prevention drill included an evacuation drill by local residents, search-and-rescue drill involving rescue dogs, drill for rescue and excavation from collapsed housing, wide-area medical evacuation drill by the Self-Defense Forces and the firefighters, as well as drills for rescue from mid- and high-rise buildings and cars.
At the closing ceremony of the disaster prevention drill, Prime Minister Koizumi stated, "We were able to hold a large-scale disaster prevention drill conducted by eight prefectures and municipalities thanks to the participation and cooperation of many of you. I cordially extend my words of gratitude to your cooperation. It is often said that disasters come when you least expect them, but earthquakes are most likely to occur anytime. As such, it is extremely important for all of us to prepare for such occasion. Not only public institutions but also each and every one of us must think about and manifest in our daily lives preparedness for disaster prevention. The government will do everything in its power to further develop Japan into a country with capacity to cope with disasters. However, at the same time, I ask that all of you do your utmost by predicting various damages that could occur and considering rescue efforts that will be required so that you will be well prepared for emergency situations."
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