The Japanese government is making preparations to relocate Tokyo’s functions should the capital city be hit by a devastating earthquake or tsunami. The Central Disaster Prevention Council recommends that things like central government offices, the Bank of Japan, and other economic necessities for the country be moved in the case of a natural disaster. The two largest cities after Tokyo, being Osaka and Nagoya, have been named as candidates, along with the major cities of Sapporo, Sendai, and Fukuoka also identified as auxiliaries.
The Council says that Japan’s future could easily be affected by a damaged Tokyo and a lack of political, administrative, and economic functions. Tokyo’s western Tachikawa district is currently designated to serve as the backup for the prime minister’s office and other necessary government functions in the event of an emergency, however, it is only located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the city’s center, and thus would also be damaged in the event of a natural disaster. Other highly recommended measures include the creation of temporary shelters in the event of stranded commuters, and the preparation of backup copies of disaster-related information to be used at any relocated headquarters.
The five major cities were selected on the basis that they already have large offices of government and branches for Bank of Japan, as well as their ability to quickly takeover the responsibilities of managing the country. The disaster prevention panel still has to complete their evaluations, but their final report on preparations is due for presentation by next spring.