Japan marks 100 years since Great Kanto Quake with disaster drills nationwide

TOKYO, Sep 01 (usnews.com) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida staged a televised disaster drill on Friday based on a fictional earthquake in the Tokyo region, as his country marked the centennial of the real-life 1923 Great Kanto Quake that killed more than 100,000 people.

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the Sagamihara area, southwest of Tokyo, on September 1, 1923, just before noon, triggered a widespread inferno, causing most of the victims to perish in the fire.

The blaze destroyed nearly 300,000 Japanese paper-and-wood homes as the country suffered major social and economic damage just as it was seeking to modernise.

In the aftermath, thousands of ethnic Koreans were killed as police and others responded to baseless rumors that Koreans were poisoning wells. The rampage has never fully been acknowledged by the government.

Japanese officials are worried another devastating tremblor could happen again. On Friday, the drill simulated the aftermath of a fictional 7.3-magnitude tremblor in central Tokyo at 7 a.m. Kishida and his Cabinet ministers, wearing matching light-blue uniforms, walked to the prime minister's office for an emergency response meeting to discuss initial measures with hypothetically hard-hit Sagamihara city, the 1923 epicenter. ...continue reading

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