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Disaster Prevention Day Drills
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Annual comprehensive disaster prevention drills were held on September 1, Japan's National Disaster Prevention Day, during Disaster Prevention Week from August 30 to September 5.
This year, the comprehensive disaster prevention drills were aimed at the inspection of disaster emergency action plans by ministries and agencies and the enhancement of the coordination between and capabilities of each organization related to disaster prevention, with an emphasis on earthquakes with epicenters directly beneath the Tokyo metropolitan area. To achieve these goals, the comprehensive disaster prevention drills this year incorporated three different units of the drill carried out by the government headquarters, the Joint Disaster Prevention Drill by Eight Prefectures and Municipalities, and the Comprehensive Disaster Prevention Drill of Shizuoka Prefecture.
The drills began with the scenario of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurring around 7:15 a.m., with the epicenter in Tokyo Bay. All the Cabinet ministers promptly gathered at the Prime Minister's Official Residence and convened an extraordinary Cabinet meeting to establish an emergency headquarters for disaster countermeasures. Prime Minister Koizumi then held a press conference to announce the government's countermeasures and called on the public to respond in an orderly fashion and cooperate in lifesaving and fire extinguishing efforts.
Next, at a meeting of the emergency disaster countermeasures headquarters attended by all the Cabinet ministers, Prime Minister Koizumi discussed systems to ensure the continuance of core functions of the capital and the economy, respectively, each briefed by teleconference by Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, the Governor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and Mr. Toshihiko Fukui, the Governor of the Bank of Japan.
In the afternoon, Prime Minister Koizumi moved to Nishi-Arai Bridge (Arakawa Green Area) of Adachi Ward, the Tokyo site for the Joint Disaster Prevention Drill by Eight Prefectures and Municipalities. There Prime Minister Koizumi observed the water transportation drill using the river zone, designed to support people facing difficulty in returning home due to disruptions of transportation means. He also observed the large-area cooperative medical transportation drill, emergency aid drill, various exhibitions and simulation drills, emergency meal services, a drill to provide information on devastation, and drills to restore life lines in case of a large-scale disaster.
At the closing ceremony of the drills, Prime Minister Koizumi reviewed the drills and thanked participants for their hard work. He said, "It is important for each one of us to be prepared for disasters on a daily basis in cooperation with the government and the private sector. In other words, it is to act in the spirit of ' always be prepared and there is nothing to worry about.' I truly appreciate the hard work by each of you. I would once again like to express my heartfelt respect to those who have been devotedly committed to the initiatives."
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