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Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012

Tokyo holds Twitter-powered disaster mitigation drill


A disaster mitigation drill using Twitter for purposes that include finding shelters and locating the injured was held Wednesday in Tokyo's Roppongi area.

News photo
Tweeting for survival: Women use the Twitter microblog service during a disaster mitigation drill in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday. KYODO

The training was organized mainly by the microblogging company's Japanese unit, major real estate developer Mori Building Co., Internet search firm Yahoo Japan Corp. It was aimed at enhancing people's familiarity with using social media in the event of disasters and boosting awareness of potential problems with such services, including how to handle erroneous information.

During the March 2011 disasters and ensuing nuclear crisis, tweets, as short messages on Twitter are called, became a major source of information, although a number contained erroneous information.

About 100 people solicited from the public participated in the drill, which was based on a scenario in which Tokyo is hit by a major earthquake.

The participants simultaneously received the initial quake report via a smartphone app for emergency alerts provided by Yahoo before moving to a shelter set up by Mori Building Co.

The drill required frequently checking Twitter updates issued by Mori Building on appropriate evacuation routes and also tweeting on the whereabouts of any injured people encountered on the way.

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