Anti-disaster drills assuming major earthquakes were held across the country Tuesday — the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake 92 years ago — with the participation of an estimated 1.67 million people nationwide. Japan is a disaster-prone archipelago; damage from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster remains, and future powerful quakes with massive casualties are forecast. The 1923 quake anniversary should serve as a reminder of the need for government authorities, businesses and citizens alike to be prepared for large-scale disasters.

Along with major quakes, abnormal meteorological phenomena such as frequent torrential rains and tornadoes as well as volcanic activity have caused serious damage in recent years. It is impossible to prevent natural disasters from taking place or predict when and how they will hit. But we can reduce the damage from such disasters and protect lives if we are adequately prepared. Government at all levels, communities and individuals should cooperate to determine what they will need to do both now and in the event of a major disaster to minimize the damage.

The national government drill Tuesday was based on a scenario that the Tokyo metropolitan area has been hit by a magnitude-7.3 quake originating in western Tokyo, with Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures shaken by tremors registering upper 6 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7.