Palace park to be used in disasters

Kyodo

The park surrounding the Kyoto Imperial Palace will be declared a base for the Self-Defense Forces, police and fire services in the event of a natural disaster, prefectural officials said Wednesday.

The city of nearly 1.5 million people currently has no base for coordinating disaster relief. The roughly 65-hectare park in the center of Kyoto has ample space for helicopters and wide roads to support heavy vehicles.

Kyoto authorities plan to work closely with the central government, which controls the park and palace.

The base will serve as the control center of local operations in disasters, processing and distributing relief materials from around the country and functioning as a heliport.

The palace was the main Imperial residence until Emperor Meiji shifted to Tokyo in 1869.