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Mt Fuji eruption expected to cause 750,000 refugees

35 Comments

An eruption by Mt Fuji would force up to 750,000 people to take refuge, according to an evacuation plan formulated by the governments of Shizuoka, Yamanashi and Kanagawa prefectures.

A committee of experts from the three prefectures made public their plan, which shows that in Shizuoka, where the worst damage is expected, 580,000 people will need to take refuge due to lava and pyroclastic flows, TV Asahi reported.

Local governments are considering how to move the function of city halls in case they are covered by ash and how to deal with expected transport network chaos. The committee has yet to designate safe evacuation routes.

The prefectural governments of Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Kanagawa plan to formulate a prediction of the damage likely to be caused by lava flow, falling rocks and ash clouds as a result of a Mt Fuji eruption.

Some academics say that an eruption may be overdue. Retired professor Masaki Kimura of Ryukyu University said last year that recent phenomena, such as a pressure buildup in Mt Fuji’s magma chamber, indicate an eruption of Mt Fuji should have taken place in 2011 with a four-year margin of error ending in 2015.

Researchers have been studying seasonal patterns and crater shapes in order to create simulations that accurately predict the behavior of the ash clouds that are likely to result from a large eruption.

A survey carried out by the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute in May of 2012 found a 30-km fault running from Gotemba in Shizuoka Prefecture beneath Mount Fuji. Research results indicated it is likely to be active.

If the fault sets off an earthquake, researchers say the slopes would most likely collapse, causing massive landslides and mudflows.

An earthquake in 1707 caused Mount Fuji to erupt and killed an estimated 20,000 people.

© Japan Today

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35 Comments
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A watched pot never boils... 2016 it is.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I hope Mt Fuji doesn't blow its top.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A wise friend once said "If there's nothing you can do about something, there's no point worrying about it". But I would keep a supply of food and water on hand.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some academics say that an eruption may be overdue. Retired professor Masaki Kimura of Ryukyu University said last year that ... an eruption of Mt Fuji should have taken place in 2011 with a four-year margin of error ending in 2015.

Before reading this, my understanding was that an eruption was fairly likely within the next 50 years. The above sentence would suggest an eruption is imminent within the next few years.

I sincerely hope that is nothing more than scare mongering. I would be curious to know what proportion of the experts agree with that prediction. I would assume only a fringe minority.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is nothing one can do to stop Fujisan from erupting and ruining the area and its near perfect cone shape. That's a fact.

My hopes are that it never happens but at least I will make every effort when chance affords it to snap great images of this majestic volcano and surrounding areas of IF the worst were to happen, I could at least have good memories of the area.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If Mount Fuji erupts there is not much that can be done to stop what happens after.

Even with preplanning there will still be a hugh loss of life for example the Fukushima quake. People were warned yet did not think that it would happen so quickly and then panick set in with roads being jammed up so the loss was even greater than it should have been.

I wonder what reason JAPANTODAY will give me when the remove this comment?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Living in a country that is on the ring of fire and is subject to typhoons every season, it should not come as a surprise to anyone when a disaster happens. I am most dissappointed in the fact that the J-govt consistenly drags it feet , apologizes for late response, and tries to save-face when these things occur.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many nations prepared for evacuation for safety reason. However they can not predict it is 100% safe for going back to danger zone which they came from. Many people wanted to collect their belongings and inspect their properties.

At least 14 people have been killed in a catastrophic volcanic eruption in Indonesia, just a day after authorities allowed thousands of villagers to return to their homes on its slopes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/03/world/asia/death-toll-climbs-after-major-volcanic-eruption-in-indonesia.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/at-least-14-killed-as-mount-sinabung-volcano-erupts-in-indonesia-9101442.html

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If fuji wakes up, I think its goodbye Tokyo.

Not in the "covered by lava and ash" sense, but In an economic sense for sure. I think Osaka or Kyoto would be given the "Capital city" title, and most companies would relocate their businesses down south. It makes sense really - If Fuji is about to wake up, companies probably are already doing this.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is a good time to make preparations. In fact, this ought to be top priority for the greater Tokyo-Yokohama area and Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures.

What we aren't told, and maybe no one is sure, is how it will blow. Let us hope it gives some warning before it erupts.

The Great Hanshin Earthquake and the recent triple disaster in Tohoku have proven that official Japanese crisis management is terrible. All the more reason to start planning for the eruption right now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It could be like the old Gonzilla movies. "Oh dear, there goes Tokyo"

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

It would be perfect that this happens during Shinzo Abe's reign, teach him and his cronies some humility and end his war-mongering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a private owned land, so where do the affected people go for any claims on any damages caused by the eruption? To the Sengen Grand Shrine or to the government?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, I do wonder about the timing of this article. Thank you. As we are trapped without any route of escape right now due to the heavy snow and blocked roads and within the areas mentioned around Mt. Fuji, we are also concerned about a potential earthquake and what we would do. To add Mt. Fuji's eruption is interesting but poor timing. No good timing for nature but these eruption articles seem to just pop up randomly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think that number is quite an underestimation. Depending on the wind direction and strength of the wind there may very well be evacuations all the way to Kanagawa and Western Tokyo. However, something I do know is, I will have a great view of it from my place in Chiba.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

titanium are you serious?! Surely you cant claim "damages" caused by a volcanic eruption? Cities should fund temporary emergency support (Evacuations, food, etc) but How about if you dont want damages caused by volcanic eruptions, then just dont live near a volcano?

Correct me if Im wrong but insurance against earthquakes is also unavailable to all but the richest. Cant really live away from those though, short of moving out of Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only way any event could really be random is if there was no prior event causing it. This has never happened on Earth, which is the reason there are no accidents. The weather is a perfect example of cause and effect which rules our world and is the force of life.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All of Mount Fuji and 5 km of land around it should belong to the nation and not private owners. Like at Mount Asama in Nagano, another active volcano, no one should be allowed to live within 5 km of Mount Fuji. People can continue to farm.

All climbing should be banned. What happens when it erupts during peak climbing season. Will all those climbers expect to be rescued?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

We hear this every couple of years. SOME DAY the media will be correct but until then I'm reminded of the economists who predicted 9 of the last 2 recessions. Besides, apart from a slight built up of pressure which comes and goes, there are no indications of an imminent eruption.

Ill sleep well in central Tokyo tonight, thank you.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So the heat deep inside and below Mount Fuji could be used to generate power and supply Tokyo with electricity,

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Retired professor Masaki Kimura of Ryukyu University said last year that recent phenomena, such as a pressure buildup in Mt Fuji’s magma chamber, indicate an eruption of Mt Fuji should have taken place in 2011 with a four-year margin of error ending in 2015.

It will erupt either by this year or by 2015?

@kimuzukashiiiii

You're saying there is nothing to expect from anybody? Gosh, that's sad. I cannot imagine my collection of mangas and action figures wrecked by falling molten magma. JK

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wish they published a debris and damage prediction map... Scary stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And I am imagining that after the eruption and the serious depletion of Tokyo population and resources, that Tokyo might return to "Edo" and become a fabulous place to live. There would finally be room to breath thanks to depopulation. Buildings would empty, and become vertical farms. Rents would plummet. No more "renewal" and "bribes" hijinks (I refused to pay them and so far so good). It might be quieter here. Endless construction would be reduced. Trains...not so 300% overcrowded. More farming. More estuaries returned. More wildlife and real nature, not manufactured, clipped to lollipops nature. Might be terrifically livable. My snowdaydream!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It hasn't erupted in over 300 years, what could go wrong?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

750,000 is a lot of refugees. Never mind the destroyed industries and infrastructure like ports and airports, necessary for modern international commerce. It would be a big problem.

sensato-

it has blown 100 times in the last 3000 years, more or less every 300 years. While as you say, in geological time 50 years off is really insignificant, true, in this case, it has been really really regular, and right now the way the tremors and magma build-up are, it looks likely soon. Not a geologist myself, though, but I believe it is not just scaremongering.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Volcanoes can change their eruptive behaviour at any time so how are they able to predict what's going to happen here?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Volcanoes can change their eruptive behaviour at any time so how are they able to predict what's going to happen here?

Geology, and specifically volcanology, isn't an exact science, but you can get fairly accurate predictions with the right tests. They have already identified a potentially active fault line under Fuji, and it sounds as though they've also detected a pressure build up in the magma chambers. Naturally, they will also have looked at the composition of the mountain, and examined the magma dome and any other potential eruption points. With this information, it's not that hard to make an accurate prediction. However, it is still only a prediction. No matter how precise they may seem, an unforeseen or overlooked variable could render it inaccurate. For all we know, the fault line could rupture the bottom of the magma chambers, sending magma down and decreasing the pressure.

It sounds as though they're just making plans to be on the safe side. Which is good. It's better to have plans and not need them, than need plans and not have them. I wouldn't really start worrying until an increase in seismic activity is recorded. That's a good indication. I've heard that there are often pockets of Sulphur Dioxide near volcanoes, which when mixed with water, creates Sulpuric Acid. So if the pH readings in nearby lakes go up as well, it's time to start evacuating. But, even then, not everyone will leave. I've read that not everyon evacuated from Mount St Helens before it erupted, deciding that they would sooner die in their own home than abandon it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Zichi, "All climbing should be banned." Couldn't agree with you more.

"What happens when it erupts during peak climbing season. Will all those climbers expect to be rescued?" No, they'll be dead.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let 'er rip. The impact of an eruption all depends on which way the wind is blowing or which side breaks open. There is a better chance that seismographic equipment will indicate a possible eruption than it will predict a tsunami. Relax people and enjoy the view. If you are on the mountain when it erupts, it is your destiny in this universe. In the next universe, maybe your destiny will be different, maybe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Trevorpeace1 indeed. And then their families will complain and claim damages. God help if there are any Yanks on top of the mountain when she wakes up.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As I enjoy visiting the Mt Fuji area, I hope it remains quiet for as long as possible. But if/when it goes off, there'll be warning signs like before Mt St Helens blew her top. Monitor the relevant sites, and stay informed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't worry about it. There be warnings. It is better to learn about your own neighborhood. NHK a few years ago went through the problems areas in Tokyo in case of a major quake. Do you where the major rivers are near you or streets with "kawa" in their name. Many minor rivers were paved over but that makes these areas extremely weak in case of liquefaction. Where is the nearest park with open land. Problem is lot of park land has been developed with lights and structures if compromises safety. High ground is generally safer but there were fire storms that climbed certain hills around Tokyo. The other thing is that the next Fuji eruption can be explosive. There are 2 other Fuji's under the present one. Last time most of the debris went west but they can also go east. But it's speculation, so enjoy Fuji for now and climb it while you can.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If we look at volcanoes around the world, there is USUALLY, though not always, a little huffing and puffing before a volcano blows. I imagine we'll have a few days or so of sputtering and spattering before things really get crazy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To bad they do not have a link to allow you to check earthquake status. I have watched Mt Saint Helens earthquakes in the past and knew by looking at some of the results that it would have another eruption. It is not a perfect science by looking for harmonic flow of Lava gives you an idea things are really heating up. But it is a something I do occasionally look at the local charts to see if anything interesting is happening.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

a fuji eruption would really be a blast. it might finally shake things up around here.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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