National

‘Tourists’ evacuated by boat for first time in Tokyo earthquake drill

JIJI

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Sunday conducted a disaster drill based on a scenario in which a powerful earthquake strikes the capital. The exercise was the first to involve the evacuation of foreign tourists by ship.

To transport visitors from abroad, the government used vessels from the Tokyo Fire Department, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Japan Coast Guard and private businesses.

The exercise was based on a quake measuring upper 6, the second-highest on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, striking the capital. About 7,000 people participated in the drill, including residents and personnel from related organizations.

Water taxis and buses were used to carry medicine and medical workers to a wharf near an integrated elementary and junior high school in Minato Ward. At the school, residents learned how to make a stretcher and set up a spigot on a fire hydrant.

Part of the exercise involved transporting about 60 tourists by water bus along waterways including the Sumida River in Chuo Ward.

Officials were on hand throughout to monitor various stages of the exercise to get a clearer view of what to do in the event of a disaster.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike took part in a firefighting drill at the school. In a park, she later viewed an exercise when people trapped in a collapsed building were rescued.

Koike told reporters, “It’s feasible to use the waterfront for the transport of relief supplies (in times of disaster).”