The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has announced plans to require owners and operators of hospitals, schools and other large buildings to carry out earthquake resistance checks. According to the ministry, the checks are to be introduced as the result of a series of collapses involving buildings that were rebuilt to outdated earthquake safety standards following the Kobe earthquake in 1995.
Reinforcing buildings to make them more quake-resistant is one of the pillars of the new Abe government's economic stimulus package announced last Friday.
The ministry says that modernization and structural improvements have been taking place since the earthquake, but that large numbers of insufficiently earthquake-proofed structures still remain.
NHK reported that the new policy will affect facilities catering for young children and the elderly, such as schools, hospitals and care centers, as well as buildings through which large numbers of people pass, such as shopping malls.
The announcement marks the first time the government has obligated operators to carry out earthquake resistance checks. It is thought the new regulations will affect around 5,000 structures when they come into force.© Japan Today