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Cablegate: Anitterrorism Exercise in Tottori Prefecture

VZCZCXRO4125
RR RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #7134/01 3602333
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 262333Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 8823
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1788
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2744
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0329
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUESDJ/FBIS OKINAWA JA
RUALSFJ/USFJ DIA REP YOKOTA AB JA
RUHBABA/CG III MEF CAMP COURTNEY JA
RHMFIUU/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA
RUALSFJ/USFJ SIMFAC YOKOTA AB JA
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9369
RUEHKO/USDAO TOKYO JA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 007134

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM ENERG JA PARM
SUBJECT: ANITTERRORISM EXERCISE IN TOTTORI PREFECTURE

REF: TOKYO 06346

1. SUMMARY: On November 26, 2006 in Tottori Prefecture, the
central government conducted its fourth large-scale
antiterrorism exercise in accordance with a Japanese law to
protect citizens and assets in the event of a national
emergency (reftel). Participating in the drill, were over
1,500 officials from the Self-Defense Force (SDF), the local
police, fire department, medical field, and other wide-area
assistance groups. As the sophistication of the government's
approach to these drills gradually improves, so does the
effectiveness and realism of the scenarios. The scenario
involved an attack on a community center by armed North
Korean agents using sarin gas, which was a first for this
type of exercise. While the overall training went smoothly
with a few minor shortcomings, the public was not highly
supportive of the exercise. Some residents continue to
believe it is implausible that a terrorist attack could occur
on Japanese soil. On December 21, 2006, Tottori Prefecture
along with other relevant organizations held an action review
meeting regarding the field exercise and the results will be
issued in a report in February 2007. END SUMMARY.

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About Tottori Prefecture
------------------------

2. Tottori Prefecture is the least populous prefecture in
Japan (2006 population, 603,994) mainly because it is an
agricultural area with no major industry to sustain the
economy. Tottori prefecture sits between Hyogo Prefecture and
Shimane Prefecture on the Sea of Japan, with the closet
nuclear power plant (NPP) in Shimane, which is approximately
90 minutes away by train or 17km. For this reason, Tottori
Prefecture is not within the emergency planning zone (EPZ)
priority range for disaster prevention measures in the
vicinity of nuclear installations. In the case of NPPs, the
EPZ target range is approximately 8-10km. However, Tottori
Prefecture participates in an annual nuclear emergency drill
with Shimane's NPP. In conversations with Mr. Shinichi
Mizunaka, Manager of the Tottori Prefecture Disaster
Prevention Office, Tottori's disaster prevention planning
office participates in command and communication training
exercises with the NPP to maintain harmonious relationships
and to practice issuing and receiving situational updates
using various telecommunication systems (i.e., radio
networks, etc.).

3. Tottori Prefecture is the first prefectural government to
draw up a civilian protection plan as stipulated by the
central government. Some pundits point to the prefecture's
close proximity to Korea, approximately 400km away, as to the
motivation behind such immediate action. The 2001 North
Korean ship that fired at a Japan Coast Guard vessel,
injuring two officers, prompted Tottori Prefecture to begin
developing a protection plan. By 2003, current Governor
Yoshihiro Katayama (elected in 1999) took the lead in
organizing a meeting with multiple agencies, such as
prefectural emergency management offices, the SDF, the fire
department, and police to explore the most effective
emergency protective measures for its citizens. In an effort
to broaden and strengthen the prefecture's protection plans,
the Cabinet Secretariat requested Tottori to conduct a
half-day map exercise in August 2006 based on an attack by
unidentified armed agents spraying a chemical agent inside a
crowded sports facility. The table-top exercise provided a
forum to discuss appropriate response options before the
practical field training was carried out in late November
2006.

Details of the Drill
--------------------

4. EST officer attended the November drill and noted that
the overall planning and coordination of relief efforts went
smoothly with the exception of minor behind-the-scenes
hiccups. Comments below will highlight the overall scenario,
including the major facilities used in the training, and the
shortcomings identified.

5. MAJOR EXERCISE SITES: In the ground exercise, major
facilities included, Tottori Prefectural Western District
Office and Yonago City Hall set-up as the task force

TOKYO 00007134 002 OF 003


headquarters, Tottori Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts used
as the stage for the chemical attack by terrorists, and
Yonago Municipal Health and Wealth Center established as a
safe haven to provide food and medical care for slightly
contaminated victims. In addition, NTT provided Disaster
Messaging Service, which is available only at the time of a
disaster. In response to the phone network congestion that
followed the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, NTT designed a
unique emergency voice mail service for family and friends to
verify the safety of their loved ones in stricken areas. The
victim can record a message via, a public, mobile, or private
phone up to 30 seconds in length by dialing 171 1 (if
registered with NTT) or 2 (if not registered) victim's home
phone number. This voice mail is stored for up to 48 hours
and offers a chance for family and friends living outside the
affected area to make contact with those inside the disaster
area through recorded messaging. For more information on this
service, visit NTT West website:
http://www.ntt-west.co.jp/info/saigai e/E81z171.html.


6. OVERALL SCENARIO: The exercise began at 9:35am, 5 minutes
after a supposed chemical attack by North Korean agents at
Tottori Prefectural Hall for Martial Arts where residents
gathered for an event. The first to arrive were several fire
trucks and personnel, the local police and the SDF. Most
emergency personnel arrived on the scene wearing chemical
protective gear, similar to a hazmat suit. At 10:00am, the
medical team arrived and the evacuation and rescue operations
began. Based on the scenario, 10 people were killed, 15
critically-wounded, 40 semi-severely wounded, and 153
suffered minor injuries. As victims were rescued they
received emergency triage and walked through decontamination
tents, which were set-up outside the building by the SDF and
other medical personnel. By 10:15am, victims were transported
to appropriate medical facilities. For example,
critically-wounded patients were transported by ambulance to
temporary medical facilities established at nearby bases.
Victims with minor injuries received care inside Yonago
Municipal Health and Wealth Center. Around 11:00am a siren
sounded around the martial arts facility, and over 100
residents with assistance from local government officers were
evacuated by bus and taken to the Kamo Elementary School. At
11:15am, decontamination activities were carried out. By
12:30pm, the actual field training concluded. However task
force meetings continued until 4:00pm.

7. PRESS CONFERENCE: At the press conference held after the
exercise, officials from the Cabinet Secretariat's Office
seemed pleased with the overall results of the training.
Tottori Prefecture's governor emphasized the strengths of the
drill stating that, "the capabilities of each organization
were demonstrated and mutual cooperation among each
participating agency was observed."

8. A FEW FLAWS IDENTIFIED: According to Mr. Mizunaka, there
was a network communication breakdown between the command
post and the field personnel. In some instances, emergency
respondents could not receive the command post's instructions
or provide it with situational updates. This matter is being
investigated by the action review committee. Secondly,
although emergency personnel promptly arrived on the scene
with proper gear and equipment, some of the decontamination
tents took a noticeable amount of time to properly inflate.
Lastly, some prefectural staff members admit that the warning
siren was barely audible and those participating in the drill
did not hear it. It appears that the local government made a
decision to greatly reduce the volume of the siren in an
effort not to disturb non-participating residents.

Next Steps
----------

9. The central government will continue to organize joint
civil protection activities with local governments. The next
map exercises will take place on February 2, 2007 in Saga
Prefecture and February 7, 2007 in Ehime Prefecture. Plans
for practical training exercises will be announced at a later
date. For more information on civil protection drills, visit
Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site:
http://www.kokuminhogo.go.jp/en/pc-index e.html.


TOKYO 00007134 003 OF 003


Comment
-------
10. This exercise marked a number of firsts. It was the first
scenario that involved an attack from North Korea. The drill
also marked the first time civilian causalities were included
in a scenario, reflecting growing concerns over possible
North Korean aggression. Furthermore, this was the first
drill in which the government did not share the scenario with
participants beforehand, perhaps because of top officials'
criticism of past exercises.
DONOVAN

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