Disaster Prevention Day Drills
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Annual comprehensive disaster prevention drills were held on September 1, Japan's National Disaster Prevention Day.
This year, the drills placed emphasis on response measures based on the supposition that information has been received in advance about the possible breakout of an earthquake in the Tokai region. The drills involved the operation of the government headquarters, which engages in the initial responses at the Prime Minister's Official Residence, as well as coordinated initiatives with the Comprehensive Disaster Prevention Drills of Shizuoka Prefecture. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led a government inspection team and visited Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, to observe the situation of the region.
In the drills, an extraordinary Cabinet meeting was held upon the receipt of the prediction information from the Director-General of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Then a state of precaution was declared and precaution headquarters for earthquake disasters was established. After that Prime Minister Abe held a press conference to raise people's awareness for the state of precaution and announced to the people the government's measures to be taken. Immediately after the press conference, Prime Minister Abe convened the precaution headquarters for earthquake disasters participated in by all Cabinet members and then was briefed through a videoconference by Mr. Yoshinobu Ishikawa, the Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, and held discussions with him accordingly.
On the supposition that the earthquake had occurred, Prime Minister Abe visited Izu City, the venue of the Comprehensive Disaster Prevention Drills of Shizuoka Prefecture. There he observed the drills of preparing meals outdoor in an emergency situation and rescuing injured people. He also observed other drills for a simulated outbreak of tsunami, which were carried out in concerted efforts by all the participants -- the Self-Defense Forces, Japan Coast Guard, the police, the fire department, the Japanese Red Cross Society and volunteers from local communities. Those drills included exercises to rescue people from wreckage, search for people who have been buried alive, use a helicopter to rescue people drifting in the sea and search for people missing in the sea.
At the closing ceremony of the drills, Prime Minister Abe reviewed the drills and thanked participants for their hard work. He said, "This training will never be wasted. We should be accustomed to any situations that we might face in the future. I think it is important to predict various possible situations beforehand and repeatedly practice ways to respond to them."