Gov't devises plan to reduce deaths in event of Nankai Trough earthquake


The Japanese government has announced new measures to minimize the deadly impact of an earthquake in the Nankai Trough off Japan’s Pacific Coast.

The central government's 10-year plan, announced Friday, is aimed at reducing the number of lives potentially lost by 80%, Fuji TV reported.

The Cabinet Office has predicted that up to 320,000 people could be killed in 30 prefectures by tsunami generated by a massive earthquake in the trough which stretches for 750 kilometers from Kanto to Kyushu. The office estimates that the highest number of casualties are expected to be in Shizuoka (109,000 projected deaths), followed by Wakayama (35,000), Miyazaki (34,000) and Kochi (25,000) and 10,000 for the Osaka region, though the Osaka government disputes that figure, maintaining that liquefaction would destroy many levees, causing even more flood damage and fatalities.

In one scenario outlined by the Cabinet Office, a tsunami could take about 110 minutes to reach the Osaka metropolitan area and that the number of deaths could be reduced by 80% if evacuations begin within 10 minutes of a tsunami alert.

Out of Japan's 47 prefectures, the government has designated 707 municipalities in 29 prefectures in which disaster prevention programs should be developed, including reinforcing buildings, faster alerts, publicizing evacuation outlines and increasing the number and maintenance of relief shelters.

Furthermore, 139 municipalities across 14 prefectures which are at high risk of sustaining major damage from the resulting tsunami, have been asked to strengthen their countermeasure plans and establish evacuation shelters on much higher ground. The government will also help subsidize the costs of relocating school buildings and hospitals to areas of higher elevation.

In the Kanto region, newly labeled "disaster relief zones" will have large emergency store warehouses.

A key concern is the 60 industrial and petrochemical complexes along the coast that could leak chemicals and other toxins into the environment.

The disaster countermeasures recommend that companies with operations in the regions likely to be worst hit by a Nankai earthquake and tsunami accelerate plans to shift factories further inland or to higher ground.

The Cabinet Office predicted Japan’s GDP would drop by over 9% in the year following such a disaster. The economy contracted 0.6% in 2011. The Cabinet Office said the 169.5 trillion yen in damage to property and infrastructure could be more than halved if such measures are completed.

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... and what about the dozen or so nuclear reactors just north of Osaka in neighbouring Fukui prefecture? Or has the government just developed convenient amnesia on the consequences of a tsunami on nuclear reactors?

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

First of all, the 320,000 deaths statistic is a complete worst case scenario - a magnitude 9 quake ( which Japan has never had before - bigger than the Tohaku earthquake) which would set off a chain reaction, triggering quakes in the tonankai and tokai troughs. It is also a "middle of the night" quake scenario, which assumes than many people living alone would not wake up to evacuate for a tsunami.

This quake is expected sometime in the next 30 years. It could be tomorrow, it probably will not be. Im all for making adequate preparations for disasters, but this is complete and utter scaremongering. Pointless scaremongering too, after a point. We can prepare, but after that we just have to wait for it to happen.

Lets face it, if it was the biggest earthquake the world had ever seen, coupled with a 50 m tsunami, no plans or preparations would be effective. They thought the plans they had in place in Tohaku were appropriate too, but in one town alone more than half of the evacuation centres were washed away. There is only SO much you can do.

Although I do agree the FIRST thing the government should be doing is looking at those nuclear plants.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The problem with the reactors is not whether they are running or not cos they can't be switched off. It is just the fact they are there. Online or offline they are still susceptible to meltdown due to a power failure. Even if they decided to decommission them tomorrow (which is not gonna happen) it would still take decades to get rid of them. It's worth noting that none of the reactors or meltdown scenarios are mentioned in this study. Japan's persistence with nuclear power reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Bart keeps touching the electric buzzer. Even dogs learn from their mistakes!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I heard to plan to restart HAMAOKA. Is that part of the plan ?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wonder how inflated those casualty figures are... That way they can claim competency once it actually hits and less people die.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"JP Gov't devises plan to reduce deaths in event of Nankai Trough earthquake "


3 ( +3 / -0 )

Those are just grim statistics... rather than accepting those figures the government should do something to prevent the number of deaths reaching that high. Or is this shoganai again?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yeah Zichi, that's a decade, でしょ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unless an automatic system adjusts all traffic signals to guide all traffic out of the city, complete with many roads becoming two or more lane one-way streets out, evacuation ideas will be nothing but hopeful dreams.

Even then, stop signs in Japan are surely not placed with smooth movement in mind. Its nuts that roads along freeways etc. should have stop signs, while the roads coming out from under over passes do not. The roads along the freeways could be smooth flows of traffic, but no, they stop it, wasting our time and fuel.

I would not live along the eastern or southern coast of this country for money. The government is senseless and useless.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thunderbird2 at Mar. 29, 2014 - 08:55PM JST "Those are just grim statistics... rather than accepting those figures the government should do something to prevent the number of deaths reaching that high. Or is this shoganai again?"

We'll, apparently, no, the government is not accepting these figures and doing nothing as the second paragraph says: The central government’s 10-year plan, announced Friday, is aimed at reducing the number of lives potentially lost by 80%, Fuji TV reported.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have my own plan. Stay on the Northern coast.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The designated evacuation area in my area is a public school ground.....completely ringed by a 2 meter high chain link fence with only 3 small gates that are locked when school isn't in session.

Seems pretty dumb, espeically snce public schools in most other countries aren't fenced in. Removing unneeded barriers on evacuation routes seems like an obvious improvement, but no one here seems to have thought of that. I hope they're smarter in Nankai.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If a really big one hits its likely game over for Japan & if it hits big cities I think the 320,000 estimate will be on the low side, I just cant imagine it will be easy to leave a big city if hammered by a large & possibly tsunami.

Basically if your living along the coast & in big cities you are rolling the dice, good luck everyone!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is coming! Japan can forget about the 2020 Olympics. Better that it happens before than during the Games.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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