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.© Japan Today