Tokyo plays up role of military forces in disaster relief drill

About 2,000 men from the Self-Defense Forces played the main role in the
Japanese capital's disaster relief drills on September 1.

Disaster relief drills are held in many parts of Japan every year on
September 1st, the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake which hit
Tokyo in .....

In Tokyo, this year's drills were the second under Governor Ishihara
Shintaro and were carried out under the name of "Big Rescue 2001 -- Save the

In the drills, which focused on a response to a major earthquake, the SDF
carried out air control covering all flights, including civil aviation. SDF
helicopters were used for a rescue operation. At the Chohu Airfield and its
vicinity, SDF personnel outnumbered police officers and fire fighters.

Akahata of September 2 pointed out that Governor Ishihara's rejection of
the Constitution (which renounces military forces or acts of war) is behind
the drill that gives the SDF a greater role in these kinds of exercises.

Speaking at the end of the drills at the Chohu Air Field and its
vicinity, Governor Inshihara used the term "the three military forces"
instead of "the SDF." "In an emergency, we can count on a sense of
solidarity and help from the military forces, in addition to the police and
fire fighters," he said.

Ishihara emphasized that solidarity with the military forces is what
every Japanese national had in the past, and the present "drills with the
SDF will help revive that sense of solidarity."

Akahata of September 2 said efforts to save residents' lives should be
led by local government bodies, including local fire departments, police,
medical institutions, volunteers, and residents. (end)