Tokyo police debut autopsy trucks for disaster use

JIJI

The Metropolitan Police Department has introduced two large trucks to be used for autopsies in the event that a major disaster, such as a powerful temblor, hits Tokyo, sources said Wednesday.

The trucks, which cost ¥14 million each, will also carry tents and water purification equipment to disaster-hit areas, the sources said.

The MPD believes it will be difficult to conduct on-site postmortems in the event of mass casualties from a large-scale disaster. Each tent will allow three autopsies to be simultaneously carried out, the sources said.

The trucks each weigh about 5.1 tons and have a maximum load capacity of 2.8 tons. The MPD plans to introduce more of the vehicles, the sources said.

When the 9.0-magnitude quake and huge tsunami hit the Tohoku region in March 2011, police tasked with identifying the dead were hampered in their efforts partly because of a lack of facilities for storing and washing the corpses.

“We want to use the trucks not only at times of disasters but also at places where it is difficult to carry out autopsies,” said Tatsuya Aoki, an official in charge of postmortems at the MPD.