JTB starts disaster mitigation tour


Travel agency JTB Corp.’s Hokkaido branch has begun selling a tour focusing on the disaster mitigation measures taken by Okushiri Island, which lost nearly 200 people to tsunami 20 years ago.

The participants, expected to be mainly government and company officials and schoolchildren, will walk a 3.5-km course with a guide to learn about the evacuation routes and other features in the Aonae district, the one most heavily damaged by the giant waves.

For those taking the tour as part of a school excursion, an evacuation drill will be added, according to JTB.

The firm said it organized the tour as the island off southwest Hokkaido began receiving renewed interest in its disaster preparedness measures after the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck off the coast of Tohoku in March 2011.

The island’s measures against tsunami were enhanced after it was hit by waves as high as 30 meters in July 1993, triggered by a 7.8-magnitude quake in the Sea of Japan. Some 198 people died within minutes.