Sep. 1 is the anniversary of the earthquake that struck Tokyo in 1923. Photo courtesy of The Osaka Mainichi
Japan held a major drill today to test national, prefecture and local government agencies' responses to a massive earthquake off its central and eastern coasts.
Rotorcraft participating in the drill included U.S. Marine Corps Bell Boeing MV-22s transporting disaster medical assistance teams and other personnel from the Japan Ground Self-Defense force base in Sasebo, near Nagasaki.
The drill simulated a magnitude 9.1 earthquake that struck at 7:10 a.m. off the southern coast of Wakayama Prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu.
In addition to the national exercise, local governments held separate drills. In total, press reports said, about 1 million people in 36 of Japan's 47 prefectures participated in the drills.
Such exercises are held annually on Sep. 1, or National Disaster Prevention Day in Japan. The day marks the anniversary of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that devastated Tokyo in 1923, killing more than 105,000 people.