• Kyodo


The city of Fukuoka will introduce a communications system capable of locating and estimating the size of disasters such as fires and earthquakes, in preparation for the Group of Seven top finance officials meeting, municipal government officials said Saturday.

The system to be introduced July 1 cost about 270 million yen. It is centered around a helicopter equipped with a live camera to send images of disaster areas to authorities, and is the first system of its kind in Japan, the officials said.

The images are sent via communications satellite to the Fukuoka Municipal Fire Department, the prefectural government building and the Fire Defense Agency.

The municipal government will hold a disaster prevention drill Wednesday at the Fukuoka City Museum in Fukuoka, the venue for the G7 meeting, mobilizing 13 fire engines and the helicopter, the officials said.

The finance ministers and central bankers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States will meet July 8 ahead of the Group of Eight summit of major powers in Nago, Okinawa on July 21-23, in which Russia will also participate.