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Wednesday, 30th March 2016
In General Japan News,

Tokyo launches new emergency response plan

A new emergency response plan for the city of Tokyo was announced by the Japanese government yesterday (March 29th).

It outlines the processes that would occur should a magnitude seven earthquake or larger hit the capital.

As many as 140,000 responders from across Japan would be despatched to Tokyo under such circumstances, revising a plan originally put in place in 2008.

These emergency personnel would consist of Self-Defense Forces (SDF) staff, firefighters and police offices with training in extreme situations.

The new plan, which reflects how much more damage it is known could occur as a result of what happened in the earthquake and tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan in 2011, covers the 72 hours after a disaster.

Such a time period is critical, as it is thought to be the limit of when survivors can reasonably be expected to be found alive.

The new emergency plan is set out chronologically, with the activities that should be completed first and subsequent actions that would be needed to minimise the effects of a quake.

Japan has up to 110,000 SDF members, 16,000 firefighters and 14,000 police officers on call nationwide at any one time.

In the plan, it details how key road and rail routes to Tokyo would be cleared within 24 hours in order to allow such personnel and supplies to get through.

If this was not possible, then rivers could be used instead of land infrastructure to ensure that such obstacles do become barriers.

The country has around 1,400 regional disaster medical assistance teams and the plan instructs them to be dispatched to Tokyo in the wake of an earthquake without waiting for the command from the local authority.

Local authorities and households are advised to have enough food and water to keep themselves going for three days if such an emergency should occur.

Food would then be expected to be distributed from evacuation centres on day four after a quake had struck.

Water trucks would be set up in communal areas for seven days from the emergency occurring to provide for those without provision.

Designated locations, such as workplaces, are also outlined in the plan, as temporary shelters in the event that homes are destroyed in a disaster.

As the islands of Japan are located at the point where several continental and oceanic plates meet, it is the site of fairly frequent earthquakes.

The country is well prepared for such events, as this plan shows, but a quake centring on Tokyo could have dramatic consequences due to the population density of the city.

Estimates from the government suggest that a 7.3-magnitude incident could leave 610,000 buildings destroyed, due to the tremors and the fires that would likely result in their wake.

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Japan's Obama backs namesake in US presidential race (4th September 2008)
Tokyo wins race to host 2020 Olympics (9th September 2013)
IOC evaluation commission notes Tokyo's 'financial strength' (26th June 2013)
Prime Minister Abe shows support for Tokyo's Olympic bid (8th January 2013)