Tokyo, Jan 24: U.S. military forces based in Japan will be called on by the Tokyo Metropolitan government to help with rescue efforts if a big earthquake hits the city, a newspaper said on Wednesday.
Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, accounting for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or over, and there are fears that a massive quake will some day strike its densely populated capital.
In an anti-disaster report to be released soon, the Tokyo Metropolitan government will outline plans to request rescue help from U.S. forces and Asian rescue teams to reduce the number of deaths and evacuees, the Nikkei newspaper said. Japan has already worked with U.S. forces to boost its preparedness, holding a huge earthquake disaster drill in Tokyo in September with a U.S. navy ship transporting evacuees and helicopters carrying relief supplies.
After an earthquake that killed more than 6,000 people in and around the western Japanese city of Kobe in 1995, the U.S. military provided water, blankets, tents and transport for supplies.
In the report, due by the end of the week, Tokyo will also aim to boost the percentage of houses meeting quake-resistance regulations to 90 percent from the current 70 percent, the Nikkei said. Fears over building safety in the event of earthquakes have risen since a scandal surfaced just over a year ago about apartment and hotel buildings that did not confirm to quake-resistance regulations.