Apollo 13 captain to kick off quake disaster symposium

An international symposium on earthquake disaster measures will be held Jan. 13 to 21 in Tokyo and Kobe, with one of two opening speeches in Tokyo to be given by James A. Lovell Jr., captain of Apollo 13, the ill-fated U.S. mission to the moon.The other speech will be given by Sakyo Komatsu, Japan’s noted science-fiction novelist.The symposium, titled Challenge Against Great Earthquake Disasters ’97, will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 13 at the newly opened Tokyo International Forum in Chiyoda Ward. A number of meetings of earthquake and disaster experts will follow.A similar symposium to discuss the status of Kobe and its reconstruction will be held Jan. 16 at Kobe International Conference Hall. The Kobe area was devastated by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995.Another forum in the series will take place at the Palace Hotel Tachikawa in Tachikawa, Tokyo, under the theme of creating a disaster-proof city. The forum will also be followed by section meetings of experts.While the application deadline for general audiences has already passed for the three symposiums, the general public can visit related exhibitions on disaster prevention at both the Tokyo International Forum and the Isetan Department Store in Tachikawa.