14:08 7 February 2017
Quake drill held in Tokyo's Shibuya with 4,000 participants
TOKYO, Feb. 7, Kyodo
Some 4,000 participants took part in a large-scale earthquake drill held in Tokyo's Shibuya district Tuesday to be better prepared for a possible disaster, including evacuation of foreign tourists in the event of an emergency.
During the drill jointly held by the Tokyo Metropolitan government and the Shibuya municipal government, a smartphone translation app with multilingual capability was utilized for the first time to cope with an increasing number of foreign visitors ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Many people, including commuters and students, could be stranded in the capital in the event of a massive earthquake. It is estimated that over 5 million people in the metropolitan area were unable to get home on March 11, 2011 when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit northeastern Japan because of disruption to public transport.
Based on a scenario in which an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 with its epicenter in northern Tokyo Bay struck the capital, participants at the "Center Gai" main street near the JR Shibuya Station area were urged to act calmly, with participants checking information translated into English and Chinese on their smartphones.
Also, there were instructions in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean on a large screen at a crossing in front of Shibuya Station, leading participants to a temporary evacuation space.
Liu Linhua, 30, a university student from China, said the Chinese instructions were very helpful as it would be disconcerting to experience an earthquake without knowing the local language.
Participants in the drill included those from railway operators and other businesses.