Ministry to require portable toilets, drinking water in elevators


The infrastructure ministry and the elevator industry agreed that drinking water and portable toilets should be stored in elevators in preparation for emergency stoppages after earthquakes, the ministry said.

The agreement was reached at a meeting after a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck near islands south of Tokyo on Saturday evening, causing about 19,000 elevators to stop in the capital and neighboring prefectures, the ministry said Tuesday.

People were trapped temporarily in 14 elevators and it took 70 minutes to rescue them in one case, ministry and industry officials said.

They also said building management companies should make plans to quickly evacuate high-rises, after many residents on the upper floors of condo buildings found it difficult to get out with elevator operations suspended during the latest quake.

The earthquake occurred at a very deep point off the Ogasawara Islands, around 1,000 km south of Tokyo, registering upper-5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale to 7 in Ogasawara and Ninomiya, a town in the eastern part of Kanagawa Prefecture. No deaths were reported.