The dread warning, broadcast nationwide, was delivered stiffly by a senior Cabinet member. Within two or three days, he said, a major earthquake would hit Tokyo.
This time, the warning was just part of a drill.
But with the catastrophic Kobe quake still fresh in their minds, residents of Japan’s crowded capital scrambled through emergency exits and under office desks with a heightened sense of urgency Friday.
The drill took place on the anniversary of an earthquake that leveled Tokyo in 1923.
Officials said millions of people in and around Tokyo took part in the daylong drills, which included mobilizing military units, and police and fire department rescue teams.
In yet another reminder of Japan’s seismic volatility, a 4.1 jolt was recorded even as the drills were being held.