Around 60 percent of local government buildings across Japan were not equipped with emergency power supplies lasting 72 hours, a crucial time frame in saving human lives during times of disaster, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Thursday.
The aggregated data of all 1,741 municipalities showed only 717, or 41.2 percent, passed the standard as of June, highlighting the frailty of facilities expected to act as bases in the rescue of disaster-hit areas.
The agency cited the difficulty in storing large volumes of fuel, due to lack of funds and space, as a factor, although the municipalities meeting the standard rose from 627 the same time last year.
The central government is calling for municipalities to take measures to provide an emergency power supply, capable of lasting 72 hours or more, in the event outside supplies are cut.
Japan recently experienced long power outages in the aftermath of an earthquake in Hokkaido in 2018 and typhoons Faxai and Hagibis this year.
(Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter shows the downtown area of Sapporo, Hokkaido, during a blackout on Sept. 6, 2018, following a strong earthquake that hit Japan's northernmost main island.)
The data showed 1,613 municipalities, 93 percent of the total, had installed an emergency power supply system.
While 41 percent of all the municipalities answered their emergency power supply could last beyond 72 hours, 29 percent replied theirs would last less than 24 hours, 12 percent said up to 48 hours, while 11 percent said up to 72 hours.
Out of 754 municipalities with inundation-hazard areas, 496 had an emergency power supply in place with countermeasures set for inundation.
All 47 prefectures have readied emergency power supplies for their governmental buildings, but Toyama and Fukui in the central Hokuriku region, Fukuoka and Saga in the southwestern Kyushu region and Okinawa did not have enough fuel for 72 hours.
Fukuoka, the only prefecture with insufficient fuel provision out of 19 that have inundation-hazard areas, said it will start taking corrective measures in fiscal 2020.