The Cabinet Office has set up a study panel to look into the possibility of using ships as hospitals and government offices in the event of a major disaster.
The panel held its first meeting on Friday. It has 10 members, including disaster-prevention specialists, medical experts and local government officials.
The panel members discussed such issues as how the ships would be used, how to secure necessary personnel, and what equipment would be needed.
The move comes after hospitals and municipal offices were damaged in last year’s major earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, hampering relief work.
Following the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, the Self-Defense Forces and the Coast Guard used ships to accommodate their staff. A large, privately owned ferry was also used as an evacuation center.
The panel will compile a report after continuing to discuss such issues as costs and other challenges until March.