Japan is infamous for its high frequency of earthquakes. Geographically located in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country experiences an average of 1500 earthquakes every year. Add to that the severe occurrence of typhoons, and the perturbation of a terror attack, you would think that how risky it would be to host the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, one of the most grand events of the world? Well fret not, because the organisers are preparing their best measures to take precautions against the worst kind of calamity.
Just before Christmas last December, the Olympic Gymnastic Centre at Tokyo’s Ariake district and the Tokyo Aquatics Centre went through an artificial ‘disaster drill’, where the stadium staff practices safety measures in case of a real earthquake occurring during the main event.
Presuming the occurrence of a 7.3-magnitude earthquake, a bilingual public address was played in the stadium during the drill, which will be used to pacify the audience in emergency situations.
“There has been an earthquake. Please stay calm and protect yourself. This venue is safe. Taking action in a panic may lead to danger. Please stay calm and follow the staff’s instructions. The elevators may not be used.” this announcement is to be played in both Japanese and English.
While the typhoon ‘Hagibis’ was the reason of the dismissal of three Rugby World Cup matches back in October, July and August is not the season of their frequent occurrence. However, the organisers are confident on having the best measures to counter the damage.
For counter terror measures, the Japan Self Defense Forces will also be present during rescue operations. The JSDF military personnel will be used to escort the panicked audience out of the stadium. Sniffer dogs will also be on patrol at the Tokyo Central Station and around the venue.
Emergency troops from the Tokyo fire department were also present in the drill. The fire response team practised rescue operations out of the stadium using dummies. The firefighters have also gone through mandatory anti terrorism drills.
During the drill event, Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo inculcated an emergency meeting with the supervising officials from the fire department, coastguard, JSDF and various other officials.
On receiving the news of an earthquake or similar case of crisis, Koike will be observing the venue and other affected areas around the city, and will assign her subordinates tasks accordingly.