The islands of Japan are among the most earthquake prone areas of the world and almost all Japanese citizens are aware of the danger they bring.
The islands of Japan are among the most earthquake prone areas of the world and almost all Japanese citizens are aware of the danger they bring. Extensive emergency drills are practiced throughout the country to try and minimise the effects of future earthquake, while the results of those in the past are still remembered.
SYNOPSIS: In 1923, Tokyo, was hit by one of the worst earthquake this century. Business was continuing normally at noon on September the first, but less than a minute later much of the city was in ruins. Afterwards, 125,000 people were dead and more than one and a half million homeless. Yokohama was also badly hit by the earthquake, with 30,000 killed and 50,000 homeless. Damage in the quake was estimated at 1,000 million dollars (GBP590 million sterling).
Now, with people more aware of the danger, areas of Japan likely to be affected hold annual anti-earthquake exercises. Japanese seismologists say the Tokai area of Shizuoka Prefecture is the most likely to be hit by a big earthquake and so the authorities make sure local residents are aware of what should be done if that happens.
More than 100,000 people and 70,000 policemen took part in a large anti-earthquake drill in the Tokai area on Wednesday (8 June). The drill was held on the assumption that the area had been struck by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.4 on the Richter scale. An earthquake of the same magnitude devastated the Tokai area in central Japan in 1845, killing about 600 people. The police practiced evacuating people from trapped cars and houses and clearing people from those areas affected by the quake.
The drill was given extra meaning after reports that an earthquake had jolted large areas of central and northern Japan including Tokyo later the same day. However, there were no reports of casualties or damage from the quake, which was centred about 25 miles (40 kilometres) out to sea of Miyagi, north of Tokyo.
While the police practiced clearing vehicles that blocked evacuation routes, relief squads practiced first aid treatment on supposedly injured people. About 1,000 earth tremors are felt in Japan each year.