Today marked National Disaster Reduction day in Japan, an annual event which commemorates the Great Kanto Earthquake which devastated Tokyo and surrounding areas in 1923. This year’s event, however, is particularly poignant, being the first since the 11 March Great East Japan Earthquake.
Activities were carried out all over the country, as in previous years but scaled-up with the lessons learned and experience from the latest disaster.
Comprehensive disaster reduction drills were conducted by the Government used a scenario of a M7.3 earthquake in the north Tokyo Bay and high seismic intensity observed in four prefectures: Tokyo Metropolitan, Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefecture. They included the potential interruption of telecommunications and limited use of vehicles due to extensive road damage.
The number of participants in drills conducted all over Japan today is estimated at 517,000 in 35 prefectures. Approximately 1.4 million participants are expected to take part in drills and various events over the Disaster Reduction Week from 30 August until 5 September 2011.
Next week the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, will be visiting Miyagi Prefecture, one of the most affected areas by the 11 March disaster.