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Rescuers search for at least 80 missing in Atami mudslide

30 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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"Construction upstream may have been a factor in the mudslide. Citing a preliminary examination by drone, Kawakatsu said massive amounts of soil that had been heaped up in the construction area had all washed down."

Here's a story which will disappear conveniently in the next few weeks, I'll bet you. A certain group of gentlemen with custom-made gloves will persuade Mr. Kawakatsu that there's nothing to look into.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Atami is quite literally built on sand…

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Just fwiw, but while the spot in the photo is on the access road to the mountaintop clearing with the mega solar installation, it is several hundred meters from the solar panels themselves. Apparently this spot that collapsed was infilled in the form of big artificial steps ten years or so ago. This was around the same time as the resort home development also visible in the photo.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This is another proof that global warming is THE major issue that our planet is facing.

The effects are getting catastrophic.

My heart goes to the victim of this natural disaster.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

While I am very sorry for those caught up in this, and accepting that Japan has a lot of mountainous areas and very limited flat space which necessitates building on areas you would ideally avoid; strictly enforced building regulations and effective ground stabilisation by the developer should be a minimum.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The origins of these towns and villages go back many hundreds of years. But climate change is having an effect. More rain in three days than the usual whole month. Typhoons have become stronger and more dangerous.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

That is one hell of a steep hill, who would want to build anything below it??? or even above it?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Mud slides like that one are reallynhard to prevent. sadly the plains are always under them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@zichi

You might wish to blame climate change but I blame greed.

Atami and other resorts have been over exploited-they have nothing in common with their early origins.

Locating habitation on unsafe areas is not commonsense.

If you have ever hiked up Mt Rokko then you would have seen some houses precariously perched near the top cable car station.

Going out on the subway line from Sannomiya one can find massive tower blocks perched on small mountains.

Obviously disasters just waiting to happen-that is what I am talking about.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

kurisupisu

we are regular visitors to Atami to a friends vacation home. Go painting around there. Greed does not explain away the increase in rainfall.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

It's a tragedy, RIP to those who lost their lives and I hope those who survived and lost every other thing can over come the difficulties they now face.

Aside from all the other issues going on, Best wishes and condolences to those who are suffering now down in that great little town.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Shizuoka: Izu is under a landslide alert warning.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@zichi blaming that disaster to climate change is wrong without a proper study.

that mudslide was going to happen someday by nature itself.

I would blame it to the street above. Or a pothole and a semi truck hitting it everyday. or even water vapor not veing able to scape due to asphalt.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Kyo Hiromitsu

@zichi blaming that disaster to climate change is wrong without a proper study.

that mudslide was going to happen someday by nature itself.

I would blame it to the street above. Or a pothole and a semi truck hitting it everyday. or even water vapor not veing able to scape due to asphalt.

More rain in three days than usual in the month. There are many studies on climate change.

Landslides happen across the country. When I first went to live in the mountains in Nagano 30 years ago, there was a serious landslide in the village during the rainy season destroying many homes and killing 13 people. New to me and very shocking.

Most of Japan is some sort of disaster zone. There was no street above in Atami. Location can be seen on Google maps.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

zichiToday  10:22 pm JST

There are many studies on climate change.

What kind of studies? What kind of climate change? Global cooling?

zichiToday  10:22 pm JST

When I first went to live in the mountains in Nagano 30 years ago, there was a serious landslide in the village during the rainy season destroying many homes and killing 13 people.

30 years ago and a landslide? So is climate change the reason for what happened 30 years ago? How about landslides from 50 years ago? Climate change?

Where are the typical links for 'evidence '?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Interestingly, in the Tohoku tsunami disaster which swept across the plains of Miyagi inland for about 6 km, some pointed out the stones on the mountains saying not to live below those levels.

In Atami, we have a location of people living on mountains and suffer a tragic landslide. Mountains occupy over 80% of Japan's landmass.

Which is it? Plains or mountains?

We live on a plain next to the sea. Unlikely to never have a tsunami. But it is in a flood plain but the house is a couple of meters above ground level.

Tokyo is a massive city with numerous high rise buildings with an overdue Nankai earthquake. A major disaster if and when it happens.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The standard Japanese response, and Atami is no exception, is that the authorities' warnings came too late. The standard foreigner response, somebody needs to get sued. Look around. Solar panels. There's your answer. How do you sue them if all construction paperwork was approved by the government? You sue the government? No, you just be quiet, endure, and the government subsidies will come. Government subsidies or compensation from a lawsuit; in the end they are the same. You'll have better luck with the former.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Enough of the doomsday predictions, life will go on or cease no matter what humans do on this planet, we are only ants on a stone wriggling and crawling around thinking we are significant, real life exists beyond what you imagine and try to paint.

This is an act of nature, this planet is an act of nature as is this whole damn galaxy, you not throwing out your garbage on time or riding your electric bicycle or praying to the lord makes no god damn difference at all and if you think it does then you need mental help !

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It's just turned out that the mud slide at Atami had started at a spot upward on the mountain side where an Odawara-based developer had made land-fill work in 2007 to develop housing lots.

He said the company had no responsibility for the disaster because the land-fill work was officially sanctioned by Atami City and also because the housing lots had withstood disastrous torrential rainfalls in the past. (See Kyodo news headlined: "Responsibility denied by former real estate company official"「盛り土の不動産管理会社本幹部、責任を否定」)

At any rate, this was not a natural disaster at all but a man-made calamity without any doubt.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Zichi even the photo shows the street right above at the top of the land slide where the solar panels start, dont be so blind, go get your spectacles take a closer look.

the photo at the top of the article clearly show the Street, Road or carriage way as you might like to call it , zoom in its clearly visible.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Bjorn Tomention

An area up the mountain had been cleared of trees supposedly to develop the site. You can view the entire area on Google map to see the bigger picture. Aisome Bridge is where the mudslide passed.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Aizome+Bridge/@35.1149361,139.0742582,651a,35y,39.21t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xa5e942ee37f01ec4!8m2!3d35.1111549!4d139.0844166

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Zichi I know this area very well and ride it often on my motorcycle, I have been up and down these very streets and soem that have now been washed away.

I am familiar with the whole layout. I have also been on google the last day or two and have seen the area using satellite and street view to see if where I thought it was was correct.

Its sad and tragic, I cannot imagine the grief and anguish people are dealing with right now and can only hope people I know and are close to never have to.

Its not a good experience for anyone

Ask Noah bout heavy rainfall, Im sure it had nothing to do with green house gas emissions or fossil fuels though .........................................

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Shizuoka Prefecture has released a drone video that shows the landslide at the crown of the mudslide:

https://youtu.be/wT488kWVRBY

"This suggests that the Atami mudflows started as a conventional landslide high up in the catchment. This is a typical response to very heavy rainfall. The ground will probably have undergone static liquefaction to form the highly mobile flow. Once channelised, it will have entrained water from the channel and deposits within the channel, especially those left from previous landslides, to create this terrifying mudflow."

"There are two interesting elements to this landslide. The first is that the initial failure appears to be quite deep-seated. The second is the presence of the road right at the headscarp. "

From the Landslide Blog

https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

looks Like the area had no trees, get busy planting pine trees. No the cedars that the older generation preferred which causes all the hay fever.

RIP

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No reciprocity is accepted because the Japan yen spent will help the economy of these countries

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That is one hell of a steep hill, who would want to build anything below it??? or even above it?

Hillside developments and whole towns built on hillsides exist all over the world. They are ubiquitous in Mediterranean coastal countries like Italy, Greece, Spain, etc. Look at pictures of Monaco, or the Hollywood Hills for that matter. Or Hong Kong.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What Itell you is that with soil study, one can prevent building on risky areas.

It seems in Japan you can build with no rationale.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Izusan area is one of 660,000 locations in the country identified as prone to mudslides on a hazard map issued by the government, but is not widely publicized and public awareness is low.

Maybe start publicizing it? Have a presentation annually. Define areas by percentage on the map how safe they are. Have a safety mascot. Have a safest cityist award

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Irresponsible construction and climate change will increase such incidents, but mudslides like this are natural. Even if you knit the surface with tree roots and pour concrete, this will still happen. It is the nature of the geology.

Japan is unfortunate in its geophysics. Every Japanese citizen knows that at any time, depending upon where you live, something bad could happen without warning (quakes) or after severe weather.

If you banned construction with risk in Japan, there would be few places to build, as it is mostly either mountainside or flood plain. People build homes where they own land, and may have lived safely for many generations. They hope for the best because there is no really safe and affordable alternative.

The response to Covid was laced with 'zero risk', but that just isn't possible. Not with construction, nor with pandemics.

We are getting more extreme weather more frequently. This will probably get worse, so it does pay to check risk maps for the property that you are in and any that you are thinking of buying. In different parts of the world, the risks will differ, but these maps are usually available and checking them is essential. A legal obligation for all estate agents to provide potential purchasers of land/properties with a basic guide to accessing risk maps would be a good idea.

Just because a building has been legally constructed, don't assume it is safe. Building controls that were relevant when a property was constructed may no longer be adequate, with worse weather and additional construction in the area/loss of flood plain. Use your common sense. If it is on or near a slope, check with the local authority and see that the ground is like. Get a proper survey done. Flooding has increased markedly in the UK recently and I wouldn't buy a property at the base of a slope or near any watercourse without doing some serious research.

Hopefully, most people were away from holiday homes and the death toll will not rise. The speed and strength of the mud slide reminded me of the 3/11 videos. Very scary.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The place is probably built on volcanic ash.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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