When "Blackout" occurred in Tokyo, it was analyzed by search and AI on August 30 at 18:26

In September last year, the “Blackout” was the first time in Japan triggered by the Hokkaido Iburi-Tobu Earthquake that a power outage occurred in the entire area of ​​the power company.
How did the damage spread? What kind of information did the victims seek?
NHK conducted analysis in cooperation with Yahoo Japan, which has a large amount of search data, and analyzed the corporate website using “AI” to estimate the impact of a blackout in Tokyo.
How should we prepare for a “blackout” that is a new type of disaster?
(Large blackout coverage team Yohei Yamauchi Masashi Koshimura)

Search word has needs of victims

The meeting with Mr. Ikemiya and Mr. Kinome, who are in charge of data analysis at Yahoo Japan, started in June.

The headquarters building in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo has helmets in the meeting space with visitors, indicating that the entire company is focusing on disaster prevention.

Mr. Ikemiya and others are working on search data analysis during large-scale disasters.

By searching what kind of information people are searching for at the search site in the event of a disaster, we are trying to lead to effective information dissemination in the event of a disaster.

How did the situation change during the “Hokkaido Blackout” last September, when almost everything in the Hokkaido Electric Power Company fell into power outage? To find out how to prepare for future blackouts, I decided to analyze what words were being searched for at what timing, and the changes in the words searched in the week since the blackout occurred.

The first thing you need is money

The word that increased search right after the blackout was “Hokkaido Electric Power”. The next day, there were “ATM” and “Bank”.

In Hokkaido, many convenience stores lost power just after the disaster, and credit cards and electronic money were no longer available.

It seems that there were many people who were in trouble because they needed cash to buy things but could not withdraw it.

The search for “ATM” and “Bank” decreased the day after the power failure was resolved, but there were areas where the search continued for a long time after the power failure was resolved.

This is a field related to logistics, such as “supermarkets”, “convenience stores”, and “low supply”. In particular, “insufficiency” rose sharply the day after the power failure was resolved.

Logistics base outage expands shortages

What happened to logistics at that time?

As we proceeded with the coverage of the site, it became apparent that recovery would take a long time once the logistics base went down due to blackout.

The first thing that happened during the power outage was the disposal of the raw materials for the products. This is because the refrigerator stopped.

And the impact of this has been prolonged due to the outage of automated logistics facilities.

Coop Sapporo introduced a state-of-the-art system that controls electricity and automatically manages sorting and ordering. Once it goes down due to a power outage and data is lost, recovery takes time.

At the logistics base 8 days after the blackout, products that cannot be sorted are piled up. I was impressed by the staff who talked with each other while sweating, checking the product number, and continuing to load.

In addition, the fact that production sites and processing factories were affected by power outages was also a factor behind the shortage.

I was keenly aware that the system built on the premise of having electricity would be fragile if it was lost.

The parking lot does not move

Furthermore, the search was continued even after the power failure was resolved, and the seemingly unexpected “parking lot”.

Mechanical multistory parking lots will not move without electricity.

Once stopped, it is difficult for the user to perform the recovery operation after the power failure has been resolved, and work by the contractor managing the equipment is required.

Since blackouts were not envisioned, it was highlighted that there were parking spaces that were not turned by contractors who managed mechanical parking.

Are the worries of the metropolitan area "net" and "traffic"?

So what words are searched in the event of a major power outage in the Tokyo metropolitan area?

There has never been a blackout within TEPCO's jurisdiction. In order to estimate the impact, we focused on the large-scale blackouts that occurred in the past.

In October 2016, a power outage occurred in Tokyo's 23 wards triggered by a fire in an underground tunnel in Niiza, Saitama.

Analyzing the words searched about three days before the fire and power outage revealed a clear difference from Hokkaido.

The number of searches for words such as “server”, “Wi-Fi” and “router” has soared.

A blackout in Hokkaido happened in the early morning, but because the blackout in Tokyo was an evening, many office workers were working in the office.

When people were “not connected to the network”, people searched all at once to find out the cause.

Some people suspected “cyber terrorism”.

“There are many searches for routers, Wi-Fi, Internet connection methods, etc. that are not overwhelmingly connected to the network compared to Hokkaido blackouts. There are also many other searches for transportation such as buses and trains. I think that it is a feature that there are many users who can see traffic information in real time. ''

Where is the field of special attention

We also tried to quantitatively analyze the information about the “power outages” that companies have published on their websites in order to investigate the extent of the impact of blackouts in Tokyo.

About 15,000 companies headquartered in Tokyo, we extracted pages related to “power outages” from the company's website and extracted only the context related to power outages.

As a result of investigating with the cooperation of “Groove Notes”, which has the know-how of word analysis using AI, the words related to products and business activities in a certain field, especially “power failure” and “impact” It was deeply involved.

For example, products that require precise control, such as “semiconductors”, “displays”, and “substrates”. “Ports”, “combinates”, “crane” and “warehouse” related to import and export.

Words such as “Lunch”, “Milk”, “Bento” and “Ramen” came to life.

“Assembling electrical products using precision robots, and the fields of chemicals and chemistry where temperature control is important, as electricity is now doing everything, just as our lives are becoming more dependent on electricity. In addition, the fact that the production lines in the Japanese manufacturing industry cannot move without electricity may be due to various influences. ''

“Blackout” happened in Hokkaido for the first time in Japan, triggered by a natural disaster called earthquake.

If this happens in a big city, the full extent of the impact will not be seen yet.

How should we prepare for a major power outage?
The NHK Special “Big City Power Outage – How to Prepare for“ Blackout ”” scheduled to be broadcast on general TV from 9 pm on Sunday, September 1 will be prepared with a simulation drama.

Sapporo Broadcasting Station reporter Yohei Yamauchi

Entered in 2011 Sapporo Station from last summer
Covering blackouts and nuclear power

Sapporo Broadcasting Station Director Masashi Koshimura

Entered in 2017
Covering agriculture and fishery at Sapporo station