Business

Japan's Line and multiple IT firms plan new disaster drill that incorporates gaming

Kyodo

Messaging app provider Line Corp. and multiple information technology-related firms are planning to team up with local governments and research institutes to launch a new kind of disaster drill that includes a gaming experience, company officials involved in the project said Sunday.

The idea of introducing a disaster preparedness drill that taps into information and communications technology is being spearheaded by private companies but ultimately involves the public sector as well, the officials said.

The initiative could be launched this fall.

A number of evacuation drills are already held at schools, offices and public facilities nationwide, but some nonmandatory drills draw few participants.

Potential participants thus far include Yahoo Japan Corp., the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, the Toshima Ward Office in Tokyo and the Saitama Prefectural Government.

Under the interactive drill, participants will be given several tasks during evacuation and their movements will be tracked via their smartphones.

While evacuating to their designated area, the participants will make use of smartphone apps and information from social media. Participating companies will analyze the information gathered from the participants’ behavior and share it with the local governments.

To motivate more people to join disaster preparedness exercises, incentives from the companies and local governments will be offered to participants who have succeeded in fulfilling tasks, such as properly guiding elderly people.

When and where the envisaged drill will be held, as well as how many people would be involved, have yet to be decided, the officials said.

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