MPD debuts disaster autopsy trucks

JIJI

The Metropolitan Police Department has introduced two large trucks to be used for autopsies in the event that a major disaster like a powerful earthquake hits Tokyo, officials said.

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

It would 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 carried out simultaneously, the officials said.

The trucks weigh about 5.1 tons and have a maximum load capacity of 2.8 tons. The police department plans to introduce more in the future, the officials said.

When the March 11, 2011, quake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region, police tasked with identifying the dead were hampered 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, a police official in charge of postmortems.