Defense Ministry draws up Nankai Trough quake response plans

JIJI

The Defense Ministry has drawn up response plans for a possible huge Nankai Trough earthquake south of Japan, Jiji Press learned Friday.

The plans call for using some 65 Self-Defense Forces vessels and about 300 aircraft for rescue and relief activities, since many areas could be isolated by such a massive quake.

The ministry plans to dispatch more than 110,000 Ground SDF troops from across the country to some 10 bases in affected areas as quickly as possible after such a quake.

The ministry was the first government agency to map out Nankai Trough quake response plans. The plans have been reported to Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, sources said.

The SDF plans to hold joint disaster drills with U.S. forces that would simulate a Nankai Trough quake as soon as Feb. 7 off Kochi Prefecture. MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft will be used in the drills.

According to the plans, up to seven liaison offices will be created to boost cooperation with U.S. forces. Just three offices were used in the wake of the massive Great East Japan Earthquake, which devastated the Tohoku region in March 2011.

The ministry assumes that a Nankai Trough quake would cause accidents at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture and the Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture. According to the plans, GSDF chemical units would be sent to help evacuate areas around the plants and conduct decontamination work.

The Cabinet Office has estimated that a Nakai Trough quake of magnitude 9.0 would cause up to 320,000 deaths and require some 340,000 to be rescued.

Some 2.38 million buildings would be destroyed, with economic damage estimated to hit ¥220 trillion.