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Tsunami-hit towns forgot warnings from ancestors

17 Comments
By Jay Alabaster

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17 Comments
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"In five years you'll see houses begin to spout up here again"

Less than that, probably.

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common sense is not that common

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Common sense says they will use the farm land and built there houses there again. Japan can't afford to not use land because of tsunamis.

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It will happen again for sure.

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This article is well written and chilling. Nice job Jay Alabaster. Unfortunately, its vivid and compelling message is now stuck in my head and will be on my mind all day.

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In Japan they could put tablets that on one side would say - beware of tsunamis and on the other - beware of volcanoes or landslides or whatever. There's no completely safe place to live in Japan or elsewhere, so yes, people will go back and start new lives in lowlands and try their luck until the next big one comes.

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Why is this news? Of course people forget warnings. My favorite is

close cover before striking

It is entirely rational for people to ignore warnings meant for 1000 year events. You are likely to go an entire lifetime without facing any consequences. So is such a person stupid, or a genius?

Fat people eat eclairs and burritos, and they have far more immediate consequences.

The article seems surprising, but it isn't. I predict that most people reading this will not pay too much attention the next time an earthquake drill is announced. Lazy fools.

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this is not 1,000 year events and is unpredictable. who is to say another one just like this or bigger could hit Japan again in 20 years.

The article make a good point, people need to continue to heed the warning and pass onto their future ancestors. And makes one important point, although obvious, people need to be reminded. thank you Jay!

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The government has also been warned by researchers of an overdue massive earthquake/tsunami hitting that area. The same goes for the Tokai earthquake that is also overdue. I hope they will take more serious precautions now in the Tokai area.

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My hope is that with the tsunami caught on digital HD video, people will be less likely to forget and become complacent. Stone slabs are nice, but high quality footage is much more effective in conveying just what a tsunami is, and just how scared of them people should be.

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If the people wont learn from their ancestors then it's up to the government to ensure, for the safety of future generations, that the land is zoned to prevent housing from being built on or around the current areas affected by the tsunami.

Either that or force everyone that does choose to build there to make their houses out of steel i-beam reinforced concrete AND make sure that each building is at least 4 stories high with no usable living space on the 1st through 3rd stories. (Said laced with sarcasm)

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Airion, stone slabs lasted hundreds of years.

Digital technology will probably soon go the way of tape... outmoded in a few years.

Yubaru's zoning laws sound good, but people will always find a way around them...

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A recent NY Times article told the story of a 84 year old woman from Kamaishi who recounted how she had now survived her third tsunami, her first in 1933, when her mother carried her on her back to safety. Ironically, in this episode a male friend came to her rescue and also managed to carry her to higher ground. One lucky woman.

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I hope they rebuild some of the destroyed tablets so future generations can be taught about them in elementary school. Actually, does anyone know if there's a fund I can donate to to erect new tablets?

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Could everybody stop using this bogus 1,000 year event line, which I suspect originated with TEPCO. A magnitude 9 earthquake in Japan is maybe a 1.000 year event, destructive tsunamis are not, they can be generated by quakes much lower that a 9 and have been over and over. Also, with 21st century scientific knowledge, there is no way any risk assessment analysis could say you don't 100% prepare, design, and engineer for quakes and tsunamis, regardless if they may not actually happen in your lifetime. The only reason that isn't done is that too many people think the way they can protect themselves from scary stuff is by not thinking about it.

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GJdailleault -- unfortunately, I have to agree with your post. A very well-researched article in the NY Times about ten days ago said a lot of the blame for the problems, especially those at the nuclear site, has to do with the manner in which Japan/Tepco does their disaster modeling. Unlike much of the rest of the world (so what else is new) Japan models for safety measures based strictly on history/previous disasters, not on modern modeling techniques that utilize new seismic information. Mainly because the new techniques are more complex and costly. Bottom line, to save money/promote industry, Japan does not require companies to ask the "what if" questions most other countries do.

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I have no doubt that GE encouraged TEPCO sloppy modeling to speed up sales. One top GE executive quit because the nuclear reactor design was dangerous, but that didn't stop GE.

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