YONAGUNI, Japan: Japan on Sunday (Nov 12) conducted a tsunami evacuation drill on its westernmost island, an exercise that could also help residents respond to an emergency arising from any attempt by China to take control of nearby self-ruled Taiwan, an official said.
About 200 island officials and members of Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defence Force (SDF), took part in the exercise on Yonaguni, Japan’s westernmost island, 2,000km southwest of the capital, Tokyo.
But SDF helicopters and landing craft from ships that had sailed more than 1,000km from the main Japanese islands were unable to join the exercise because of strong winds.
“We can’t choose the time when we will face a disaster. We have to think about the worst thing that can happen and plan for that,” the mayor of Yonaguni, Kenichi Itokazu, told officials at the island’s town hall at the start of the drill.
Japan is prone to earthquake-triggered tsunami. Nearly 20,000 people were killed by one on the northeast coast of its main island of Honshu in 2011.
But Koji Sugama, the Yonaguni official in charge of preparing the island’s 1,700 residents for disasters, said the community also had to be prepared for the danger of conflict.
“Today we conducted a disaster drill, but it also gives people something to think about that will come in useful in a Taiwan emergency,” Sugama said.
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