5,000 people take part in Tokyo disaster drill

Kyodo

About 5,000 people took part in large-scale disaster drills Monday in central Tokyo that assumed massive numbers of people were stranded at train stations and on the streets in the wake of a massive earthquake.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, more than 5 million people in the Tokyo metropolitan area were unable to get home after public transport was disrupted.

Monday’s drills were conducted at Akihabara, Tokyo, Iidabashi, Yotsuya and Kasumigaseki stations and the surrounding areas, based on the scenario that a magnitude-7.3 quake with its epicenter in the northern part of Tokyo Bay had halted public transportation.

At a theater near Akihabara Station, drill participants simulating attending a live performance by an idol group received water and other disaster supplies.

“I feel relieved after taking part in the drill,” said a 22-year-old woman from Kagamiishi, Fukushima Prefecture, who visits the theater once a month.

In a drill at Akihabara Station on the Tsukuba Express Line, station workers asked non-Japanese participants whether they were injured, using a translation app installed on tablet computers.

“We worry if we don’t know what happened, but we can stay calm if we can communicate,” said a 52-year-old Chinese man who lives in Tokyo.

To help commuters requiring special care, including the elderly and pregnant women, fishing boats and bus services were ready for drill participants who were returning to their homes in the city of Chiba.