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