National

Majority of Japan's local government buildings would run out of emergency power within 72 hours

Kyodo

Around 60 percent of local government buildings nationwide are not equipped with emergency power supplies that would last 72 hours, a crucial time frame for saving lives during a disaster, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Aggregated data for all 1,741 municipalities, released Thursday, showed that only 717, or 41.2 percent, were adequately equipped in line with the guideline as of June, highlighting the frailty of facilities expected to act as bases for rescue efforts in disaster-hit areas.

The agency cited the difficulty in storing large volumes of fuel due to a lack of funds and space, although the number of municipalities that were adequately equipped had risen from 627 at the same time last year.

The central government has called for municipalities to take measures to provide an emergency power supply capable of lasting 72 hours or more in the event that outside supplies are cut.

Disaster-hit areas have recently experienced long power outages, including in the aftermath of an earthquake in Hokkaido in 2018 and typhoons Faxai and Hagibis this year.

Thursday’s data showed that 1,613 municipalities — 93 percent of the total — had installed an emergency power supply system.

While 41 percent of all the municipalities said their emergency power supply was capable of lasting beyond 72 hours, 29 percent said that theirs would last less than 24 hours. Twelve percent said it would last up to 48 hours, and 11 percent said up to 72 hours.

Out of the 754 municipalities that have inundation-hazard areas, 496 had an emergency power supply in place with countermeasures set for inundation.

All 47 prefectures have readied emergency power supplies for their governmental buildings, but Toyama and Fukui in the central Hokuriku region, Fukuoka and Saga in the southwestern Kyushu region and Okinawa did not have enough fuel for 72 hours.

Fukuoka, the only prefecture with insufficient fuel provision out of 19 that have inundation-hazard areas, said it will start taking corrective measures in fiscal 2020.