TOKYO, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Japanese authorities held a drill to prepare for a mega earthquake striking the Tokyo metropolitan area for the National Disaster Prevention Day on Sunday, based on the assumption that a 7.3-magnitude quake hit the capital.
Sept. 1 is Japan's National Disaster Prevention Day to commemorate the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which left more than 100,000 people dead in and around Tokyo.
This year's exercise was based on the scenario of a 7.3-magnitude quake occurring around 7:00 a.m., with an epicenter within the Tokyo's 23 central wards, and registering 6 or 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, which peaks at 7, in the southern Kanto region.
It was assumed that the damage would be extremely serious when the earthquake occurred on a windy winter evening, in which about 610,000 buildings would be completely destroyed, of which 412,000 would be destroyed by fire.
The death toll was assumed to reach about 23,000, and about 16,000, or 70 percent, would be killed by fire. Meanwhile, It is estimated that 123,000 people would be injured, 58,000 people would need to be rescued, and as much as 7.2 million people would be displaced.
During the drill, ministers and officials gathered after rushing from their dormitories to the prime minister's office. Around 8:00 a.m., the "Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters" was set up to discuss the extent of damage and response policies.
Meanwhile, they held a video conference with the governor of Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, where severe damage could be expected in such a major quake. They were informed of the situation and assessed what kind of assistance would be needed.
The cabinet ministers confirmed basic principles, such as putting priority on search-and-rescue operations and maintaining the functions of Tokyo as the country's capital.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave a news conference, explaining the government's response and calling on people to evacuate to safe places and stay calm in such a scenario.
"Japan is in an environment that is prone to disasters. This year, heavy rain in northern Kyushu and the offshore Yamagata earthquake in June has caused damages. The government will continue to make every effort to respond to disasters and restore disaster areas," he said.
A third-grade elementary school student in Funabashi City, who was training with his family, experienced evacuation and fire fighting activities from tents full of smoke. The student said that the summer research work is about disaster prevention. "This is the first time that I learned how to use fire extinguishers and hope to help in an emergency."
Other disaster drills were held across Japan on Sunday.