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Gov’t to bolster steps for foreigners in event of massive Tokyo quake

Tokyo — The transport ministry said Tuesday it plans to strengthen measures to help foreign visitors in the event of a massive earthquake in Tokyo ahead of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.


The ministry will beef up airports and railways’ quake resiliency to ensure the rapid return of foreign visitors, while introducing more signs with symbols to aid them to locate routes and evacuation areas.


The ministry will also notify visitors of the possibility of an earthquake on its website for foreigners, as the Japanese government expects around 10 million domestic and foreign visitors to arrive during the Olympics and Paralympics, which will run for around two weeks each from July 24 and Aug. 25 in 2020 respectively.


The government estimates a 70 percent chance of a magnitude 7-class quake occurring directly beneath Tokyo within the next 30 years, and that in the worst case, the quake could kill up to 23,000 people and destroy 610,000 buildings.


Out of concern that masses of people will congregate at shelters near the Olympic venue areas, the government will increase the stockpiles of supplies and prepare transport of goods and people by water.


The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism also revised its disaster planning for a magnitude 8 to 9 quake along the Nankai Trough which extends off the coast of central Japan to the southwest. The quake has a 70 to 80 percent probability of occurring within 30 years.


The government plans to create a system to ensure smooth transport of goods critical for disaster relief and recovery and seek close cooperation from logistic companies and port operators.


It will also strengthen Technical Emergency Control Force operations to provide immediate logistics and infrastructure support such as road repair.


The government will ask construction companies to provide special training to their employees so they can help with disaster relief and recovery.

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