Japan Panel on Ash Fall from Mt. Fuji Eruption Holds 1st Meeting

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Tokyo, Sept. 11 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese government task force on measures to cope with ash fall in the greater Tokyo area from a possible major eruption of Mount Fuji held its first meeting on Tuesday.

While estimating the extent of ash damage to infrastructure such as roads, airports and other transport systems, and power, water supply and sewage systems, as well as the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, the group under the central disaster management council will discuss emergency measures that should be taken to deal with such a situation.

The task force, comprising volcanologists and disaster management experts, will draw up in about a year a basic program, which will be reflected in local governments' disaster management plans and companies' business continuity plans.

Mount Fuji, which straddles Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, central Japan, last erupted in 1707, when the country was in the Edo period.

The eruption caused volcanic products, including ash and pumice, to rain down over surrounding areas for 16 consecutive days, with what are now Tokyo and neighboring Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures believed to have been covered with 5 millimeters to 16 centimeters of volcanic ash, according to surveys by the government and others.

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