Japanese drum majorettes, complete with twirling batons and pretty smiles, led a mass parade of five thousand firemen through the streets of Tokyo on Wednesday (6 January).
GVT PAN Firemen's demonstration along Harumi Pier
GV Firemen marching
MV Fire engines past spectators
SCU Young boy
GV Retired firemen doing acrobatics
GV Retired firemen in costume with ladders and banners
GV Firemen and appliances in action on dummy fire. (two shots)
SCU Woman spectator
GV and MV Activity round flames. (Two shots)
GV Uniformed force running on the spot
SV Firemen in asbestos clothing
SV Japanese flag ZOOM OUT TO LV Japanese flags on fire ladders.
Initials WLW/DW/MH/I532 WLW/DW/VH/1630
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Background: Japanese drum majorettes, complete with twirling batons and pretty smiles, led a mass parade of five thousand firemen through the streets of Tokyo on Wednesday (6 January).
The parade, following an official opening by the Governor of Tokyo, marched past a reviewing platform in military fashion. The Governor also inspected a line-up of fire engines.
The exhibition in an annual event in Tokyo, and this year it attracted a big crowd despite near-freezing temperatures. Hundreds of children on holiday from school were among the spectators.
Nobody seemed to notice the cold once the parade had started. More than 180 fire units took part -- from the biggest extension-ladder appliances and pumping units to the smallest patrol vehicles. Two fire brigade helicopters hovered overhead throughout the two-hour display.
After the formal parades were over the star turns came on -- acrobatics on hand-held bamboo ladders by retired firemen, who performed balancing and contortion acts on their high and precarious perches. Some of the acrobats were still youngsters at 40 -- others were over 60 years old.
An exciting display of fire-fighting thrilled the crowds, and firemen and fire-engines rushed to combat deliberately-lit fires. Extension ladders rushed to rescue "victims" from a mock-up building in the middle of the road, and firemen plunged to the ground at high speed from ropes dangling out of nearby buildings. A helicopter dashed to the "rescue" of one man from the top of a tall building nearby.
The show ended with a spectacular oil fire. Fourteen extension ladders arrived at the scene of the flames and went into action, together with high-pressure pump units pouring in hundreds of gallons of water and foam.