Disaster drill to involve SDF

Tokyo training exercise will not target rioting foreigners

Several thousand Self-Defense Forces members will participate in a large-scale disaster drill in 10 locations throughout Tokyo on Sept. 3, Tokyo officials announced Friday.

But the event, titled, “Big Rescue Tokyo 2000-Save the Capital,” will not include drills to quell anticipated riots by panicking residents, they said.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who recently told a group of Ground SDF members that they may be called on to help if riots occur, said: “We can’t all of a sudden think of the worst-case scenario. We need to start at the elementary-school level, and add other scenarios each year that earthquakes do not occur.”

This will be the first large-scale drill in Tokyo in which police and SDF members are not informed of the location of participants waiting to be rescued.

The drills will be conducted in locations including central Ginza. Their aim is to help anticipate communication problems between different rescue teams during a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in central Tokyo.

Ishihara further assured that undocumented foreign residents would receive aid during a disaster.

“As human beings, of course we will help people (in trouble) whether or not they have passports or criminal records,” Ishihara said during a news conference. “If you don’t have anything to feel guilty of, you should come straight out and ask for help.”

Concerning protests from the Embassy of Pakistan on his recent claims that illegals from Pakistan are engaged in selling drugs in Tokyo, Ishihara said, “It’s clear from Metropolitan Police reports that illegal entrants from Pakistan are committing such crimes.”

The drill will involve 4,000 Ground, Maritime and Air SDF members under the command of the Joint Staff Council chief.

About 800 SDF vehicles, including trucks and water-tank vehicles, and about 50 aircraft, including helicopters, transport planes and scouting planes, will be mobilized in the drill.