• Kyodo

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The government on Friday revised the basic disaster management plan to address the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

The revised plan includes steps to prevent overcrowding at public shelters and calls for stockpiling masks and sanitizers. It also urges municipalities with shelters to plan their future responses to outbreaks in advance.

Since increasing the number of evacuation centers is effective in preventing overcrowding, municipal and other governments should consider using hotels and inns if they do not have enough public facilities to use as shelters, the revised plan says.

In light of the revision, the government will ask municipalities to review their disaster management plans accordingly.

Among other revisions are calls to expand power-generating capacity in light of the damage caused by Typhoon Faxai last September. The small but powerful storm nailed the Tokyo area, cutting power to over 930,000 households in the Kanto region and leaving much of Chiba Prefecture without electricity for weeks after slicing through the Boso Peninsula.

Municipalities are also being urged under the revisions to accept evacuees regardless of whether they are residents or not, as some homeless people were barred from evacuation centers when Typhoon Hagibis struck in October.

As for floods, the revised plan calls for promoting better awareness about when and where to evacuate.

People should understand that when authorities urge them to flee, those already in a safe place do not need to do so, it says. Those in locations deemed at risk, however, must leave as quickly as possible, preferably to an evacuation center. If a shelter is not available, the home of a friend or relative will also suffice as long as it is safe, the revised plan says.

To minimize flood damage, the revision asks companies to let employees to telecommute or shift their commuting hours, and to plan business closures ahead of time.

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