More than one million Japanese take part in disaster drill



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More than
one million Japanese took part in a national disaster drill Sunday as the
country assessed its emergency readiness in the wake of a massive quake and
tsunami in 2011.

  Timed to
commemorate the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 which killed
more than 100,000 people, the national Disaster Prevention Day has been held
every year since 1960.

This year’s
drill saw the government simulate its response to a powerful earthquake in
central to western Japan, a major natural disaster that researchers say may
occur within 30 years or so.

The
government estimates that a magnitude-9.1 temblor would kill over 320,000
people in the worst-case scenario.

Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe and all of his ministers gathered at the premier’s
residence and held a mock disaster response meeting, before inspecting a drill
site near Tokyo.

A total of
1.33 million people are expected to participate in exercises during the day,
Kyodo News agency said.

In central
Shizuoka Prefecture, people participated in a drill based on a scenario that
Mount Fuji, an active volcano, erupts following a massive quake, Jiji Press
said.

On March 11,
2011, a 9.0 magnitude quake struck seismically-active Japan, triggering a
massive tsunami that left over 18,000 dead or missing and sending reactors at
the Fukushima nuclear plant into meltdown. – AFP

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