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Japan reveals quake response command center for Tokyo 2020; holds major drill

TOKYO — Japan’s Defense Ministry on May 22 revealed the inner workings of a command center to coordinate the response to a major earthquake right beneath the capital in the middle of the Tokyo 2020 Games.


The ministry pulled back the curtain on the cross-agency command center on the second day of a four-day drill involving some 12,000 people, including Self-Defense Force personnel, games organizing committee and Cabinet Secretariat staff, and members of the U.S. military based in Japan.


The drill is based on a damage prediction by the Cabinet Office’s Central Disaster Management Council for a magnitude 7.3 quake hitting Tokyo, and uses computer-generated maps to simulate the response. The command center is gaming out a number of post-temblor scenarios, including city-wide gridlock isolating the Tokyo Bay-side area where many of the games’ venues are concentrated, and a spike in heat stroke victims.


Officials will then examine the effectiveness of countermeasures.


“We must strengthen not only our ground rescue unit but also our air- and waterborne rescue units to make sure we can save people promptly,” commented Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya.


(Japanese original by Naritake Machida, City News Department)

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