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Japan sets up vending machines that would provide free food and drink in the event of a natural disaster

Japan has taken steps to enhance its preparedness for natural disasters by installing vending machines that would provide free food and drinks in the event of a major earthquake or typhoon. Two of these machines have been set up in the city of Ako, located in a region considered vulnerable to a large earthquake that is projected to affect the country’s central and southwest Pacific coasts in the future.

The vending machines, placed near designated evacuation shelters, contain around 300 bottles and cans of soft drinks, as well as 150 emergency food items, including nutritional supplements. According to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, the contents of the machines would be made available free of charge in the event of a severe rain warning or an evacuation order following an earthquake of magnitude five or higher on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of seven.

Outside of such emergency situations, payment would be required for the items, as stated by the newspaper. The machines are said to be the first of their kind in Japan, a country prone to seismic activity and increasingly violent typhoons that have caused significant floods and landslides in recent years. Earth Corp, the company responsible for the machines, expressed its intention to install them throughout the country.

Local officials in Ako have expressed their expectation that the stocked vending machines will contribute to the safety and security of residents. In addition to these emergency food and drink dispensers, another vending machine equipped with a radio was installed in a Tokyo park earlier this year. This machine is designed to automatically release emergency notifications and relay crucial information from a local community radio station in the event of an earthquake measuring five or higher on the Japanese intensity scale.

Experts have raised the likelihood of a “megaquake” occurring at the Nankai trough off Japan’s Pacific coast from 50 percent to 60 percent in the next 20 years and to about 90 percent within the next 40 years. Given this increased risk, the installation of vending machines and other emergency response measures aim to enhance Japan’s preparedness and response capabilities for natural disasters.


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