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The government staged a helicopter takeoff and landing drill in front of the Diet building Saturday morning, conducting the exercise as if a large-scale earthquake had occurred directly under the Kanto region.

Three different-size helicopters from the Ground Self-Defense Force landed in front of the Diet building to test how swiftly and efficiently they could airlift the prime minister and ministers involved with the disaster prevention to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.

The takeoffs and landings, repeated several times, drew attention in the quiet Nagata-cho government district, surprising passersby with a scene that appeared to be from a movie.

This is the first such drill since last year and the fourth in total with some 30 people from such agencies as the National Police Agency and the Defense Agency taking part.

The helicopters will also be used to airlift the prime minister and ministers from remote areas or to transfer the official function from the official residence to other places if the residence has been damaged due a killer earthquake, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

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