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Japan carried out a tsunami evacuation drill on Sunday on Yonaguni, its westernmost island, adding additional drills to prepare for both a tsunami and a war.
About 200 island officials and Japanese Self-Defence Force (SDF) members participated in the drill 1,200 miles southwest of Tokyo. However, adverse weather conditions prevented SDF helicopters and landing craft from joining the exercise.
Yonaguni Mayor Kenichi Itokazu emphasized the need for readiness, stating, “We can’t choose the time when we will face a disaster. We have to think about the worst thing that can happen and plan for that.”
While Japan is familiar with preparing for natural disasters like tsunamis, the drill also had strategic additions, considering the island’s proximity to Taiwan. Koji Sugama, the official responsible for disaster preparedness in Yonaguni, pointed out that the exercise, although primarily a disaster drill, is also relevant in a Taiwan emergency.
This concern has been heightened by China’s military activities and its stance on Taiwan, which lies just 50 miles from Yonaguni.