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Post-typhoon blackout raises disaster readiness questions in Japan

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By Karyn NISHIMURA

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Japan has typhoons every year doesn’t it?

Not really a surprise...

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Part of the problem lies in the fact that power lines in Japan are largely above ground.

Which in 2019 is ridiculous for a developed country.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Accountability is required in these horrendous situations and in any other developed reasonably democratic country, there would be calls for the incompetent government to be fired. The silence is simply shocking.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

"If companies were better prepared, the situation wouldn't have been this serious," said Hirotada Hirose,

Wow! Who would have figured? In a country that is GOING to have natural disasters of one type or another, one would think that this is a no-brainer!

(Slapping myself upside the head) Japan? Prepared? Oh right, they are prepared AFTER the fact!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Good old Suga, a real LDP man, blaming everybody else but the Abe government. They are the ones to blame. As stated they were not prepared for this level of storm, even though only days before they were all running around playing disaster games. The SDF was called out far too late to help people, which is also on the government. Sure TEPCO bares some responsibility, but the Abe administration deserves a lot of criticism for this mess.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Which in 2019 is ridiculous for a developed country.

I wouldn't be so critical of the fact powerlines aren't underground. Japan is also earthquake prone, and landslide prone. Then there's the density of development, water tables etc.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

@MarkX

They all bare someresponsibility, but if you know Japan, you know they don't like to create cushy jobs that entails a worker sitting idle until a disaster hits.

In other industries, they probably import skilled workers to deal with peak demands, but in this case, I'm guessing it's mired in union issues.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

TEPCO. Useless gets. more money than sense of responsibility.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Looking at the photo above we see clear evidence that dangling dozens of electricity cable above roads in local areas with narrow streets is a huge hazard. Crews can’t even access the areas to assess the damage, let alone begin repairs. The only reason that electricity cables aren’t buried is that doing so would cut into the profitability of the utility companies. Water and gas companies can bury there pipes without worrying about earthquakes. Why can’t electricity providers do the same?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Lets hope they start installing power lines, whenever possible, underground from now on. It will make neighborhoods look better and be more reliable.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"....brought travel chaos to Narita airport, but the effects have been felt worst in the Chiba region,...."

Um, Narita airport IS in Chiba.

I wouldn't be so critical of the fact powerlines aren't underground. Japan is also earthquake prone, and landslide prone

A civil engineering prof speaking on NHK said those are the exact reasons why the power lines should be underground.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Now just imagine what it will be like when a major quake hits Tokyo, scary stuff.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Part of the problem lies in the fact that power lines in Japan are largely above ground.

It is true that underground powerlines are better against typhoon. However, underground powerlines are more difficult to mainten, repair or replace since you have to dig up the ground and then repath it. I read an article in the past and it says power poles have an interesting advantage in Japan. They provide easy space for street signs, community notice etc.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Put the power lines underground for crying out loud!!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I wouldn't be so critical of the fact powerlines aren't underground. Japan is also earthquake prone, and landslide prone.

Imagine an earthquake large enough to damage the power grid

Scenario 1: power lines are above ground. Poles topple over blocking road access. Dangerous cables are all over the street. Electricity is cut off.

Scenario 2: power lines are underground. No poles blocking roads. No dangerous cables all over the streets. Electricity is cut off.

In both cases the power grid is affected but its pretty clear which which scenario would be better for everyone involved.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

A disgrace, and I do point fingers at you abe, suga and aso. You did the cabinet shuffle but you three have always been in the same position and when the disaster day festivities happened you three were all dressed up in your blues with nowhere to go. Well how about going out now to Chiba in your blues? I have yet to see photos of the JSDF with mobile generators and water trailers out there. Why haven't they been deployed to these areas to assist? You forgot Fukushima and now you're forgetting Chiba. You are not ready to host the Olympics.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Every year they hold disaster drills; oyajis in crisp labourer suits with armbands displaying their role, blowing whistles and waving light-sabres as fire trucks, rescue cars and police move in an orderly fashion from behind a white line to another location, erecting a few ladders and squirting some water. However, they have spent days rehearsing this, and know exactly what is going to happen, what to do and where to go. And when it is over, they tick the box and consider it done.

With real disasters, there is no rehearsal, there is little warning, they have to think and improvise, not copy a pre-set scenario, and try to adapt their training to the real situation. Not easy for them to do.

And regarding the utility poles, besides power they also carry the local community public address system as well as NTT fibre-optic cables and telephone lines.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I wouldn't be so critical of the fact powerlines aren't underground. Japan is also earthquake prone, and landslide prone. Then there's the density of development, water tables etc.

This is quite a silly statement. There are plenty of new areas in Japan that are regulating that power cables are located underground.

Its simply about cost. Considering how much tax we pay and how little is spent on infrastructure, I think the question should be where is the money being spent?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

He said measures including minimizing the risks of trees falling on power lines

Yup, i wrote that the other day... but someone told me to leave trees alone, they were there before.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Local officials said Wednesday that the storm damaged at least 20,000 homes in Chiba, a sharp upward revision of an initial estimate of 4,000.

That is a 300% increase which is not “sharp.” It is completely off the mark and “upward revision” does not even begin to describe it. If a one yen move in the ¥$ exchange rate is a massive fall, 300% is incredulous.

I love Chiba but the reason why these areas are still without power is they don’t matter to Tepco or the government. Areas with revenue-producing factories or workers who commute to Tokyo had power back in minutes or hours. These poor people have been ignored. Aeon finally brought in one small truck from western Japan with basic supplies yesterday, even though their worldwide headquarters is in Chiba and suffered no outages whatsoever.

These areas are far enough away from Nagata-cho and Tepco headquarters that their pleas for help will never be heard. Look at the pre-fabs still in use in Fukushima eight years later, when the billion dollar Olympic housing is looking good.

Tepco and Nagata-cho are banking on the fact that the “gaman” spirit and the short attention span of the media and citizens will cover the tracks of incompetency.

FYI: Tepco executive officials are mostly silver-spoon Todai graduates who only care about how much profit Tepco makes.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The ugliest thing about Japan is overhead electricity. I can accept the shinkansens's needs for such power, but the cities are a disgrace, overhead.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Now just imagine what it will be like when a major quake hits Tokyo, scary stuff.

Stop scaremongering.

Nothing will happen, have you forgotten that Tokyo is the safest city on the planet.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I'm really surprised at the poor construction quality of the buildings in Chiba, Japan. For a country that experiences typhoons and earthquakes on a regular basis it's pretty shocking. Further I'm surprised at the level of bureaucracy preventing quick recovery. In the US before Hurricane Dorian there were 12,000 utility crews pre-staged in Florida ready to do repairs asap after the storm. (Florida has it's preparedness issues too.) Let's hope Chiba uses this experience to get much better prepared for the next time.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In a sign of the growing pressure on the government to act, Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday that around $12 million would be set aside to support recovery in typhoon-affected areas.

12 million dollars to support recovery, is this pittance amount to buy onigiri ?

Ivanka was rewarded with 50million dollars for her women empowerment movement for having lunch with Abe.

Where is the outcry, when will people cast of the spell and get up from their long slumber.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

all those drills are a lie. This is good to know since it means something can be done about it now for the future. Can't predict disaster but there's no need for bad planning nor the acceptance of inaction

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In my 11 years in Japan, every disaster questions Japan’s disaster readiness. But we have been seeing infinite pledges by the dear leader wearing blue overall after every disaster without anything improving in reality.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Nothing will happen, have you forgotten that Tokyo is the safest city on the planet.

One of the factors they used in determining the safest city is the degree to which they are prepared for natural disasters.

Tokyo has plenty of preparation plans, and does regular disaster training.

Of course some people expect scientists to find a solution to disasters, and will not count a city safe until they have.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not a very good thing for a country that always praise itself around the world for it’s efficiency in cases of natural disasters.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Noting the confused response from the Chiba prefectural authorities, the 18 Sept. Mainichi editorially noted: "The central government was also slow to respond to the disaster. It was not until Sept. 13 that the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, which supervises the electric power industry, set up a task force on countermeasures against the power blackouts caused by the typhoon."

What was Abe doing in the meantime? The headline 18 September Japan Today notes Abe was reviewing an "honor guard" in white uniforms and talking about Japan's air force becoming a space force.

My question, which is not rhetorical, is the sustained mess in Chiba as much an issue of indifference on the part of the Abe government as it is of preparedness?

I'm a survivor of the 1995 Hanshin earthquake. There were monumental screw-ups then yet I sense the response we did get was far better than what Chiba is getting now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Bububu4

Water and gas companies can bury there pipes without worrying about earthquakes. Why can’t electricity providers do the same?

You've answered your own question.

There is only so much space underground for water, sewerage, comms, gas, and they each must comply with engineering and separation requirements, coupled with high density development.

Pipes might leak in an earthquake but electrical cables could short and start fire etc. (right next to the gas pipe).

IMHO, if they could, they would have done it already, because it'd be much cheaper to maintain. Above ground, they are exposed to weather, and clashes with vegetation.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@hakuba

This is quite a silly statement. There are plenty of new areas in Japan that are regulating that power cables are located underground.

not as silly as saying just because some areas can that all should be able to - go underground. Context is everything, natural hazards, other services, density of development.

Its simply about cost. Considering how much tax we pay and how little is spent on infrastructure, I think the question should be where is the money being spent?

You have no idea have you? The biggest part of your electricity bill on Honshu is sunk cost, the cost of the infrastructure, and power companies like to goldplate sunk costs if the regulators let them, this is cost that they can generate 'fixed' profits unhindered by competition.

On tge other hand, the costs to keep employees on hand to repair and restore service is not recoverable with profit and is why power companies keep a skeleton crew and prioritize repair and restoration work.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The Japanese government's disaster preparedness plan* GAMAN!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Placing cables underground is very expensive and TEPCO have done some of it. Does not solve all the problems. Last house we lived on a non car road was about 100 meters long and maybe 2 meter wide. In a single year, that road was dug up entirely five times causing hell for the people living on it. Water, gas, drains, sewer, and then water again.

The high voltage cables are more difficult to bury. In Chiba several pylons with those collapsed. Burying cables also means substations have to be built to house those transformers you see on the poles. Land must be obtained for those.

The poles carry other services, telephone, fiber optics, cable TV. In some areas also the speaker systems. Street lighting.

The increase in monthly power bills to cover the costs of burying power cables.

https://www7.tepco.co.jp/about/facilities/distribution-e.html

The disaster in Chiba could have been managed much better including the governor requesting the SDF.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As I have said many times, when a BIG one hits Tokyo, LARGE areas will need to be simply abandoned for years decades while work the outside inwards SLOWLY deals with the damage.

When Tokyo gets hit it WILL BE TOAST!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Looking at the photo above we see clear evidence that dangling dozens of electricity cable above roads in local areas with narrow streets is a huge hazard. Crews can’t even access the areas to assess the damage, let alone begin repairs. The only reason that electricity cables aren’t buried is that doing so would cut into the profitability of the utility companies. Water and gas companies can bury there pipes without worrying about earthquakes. Why can’t electricity providers do the same?

Our home was hit by what experts said was a shindo 6+ or 7 earthquake. We lost electrical power and water.

Electricity, via overhead lines to our property, and then from a wooden pole on our land underground into our home (I refused to have wires dangle off the house) was reconnected via newly erected poles within 72 hours.

Water, via underground pipes, was out altogether for three weeks, at which point they gave up and connected us via an overground irrigation pipe to a fire hydrant. It was winter, so this had to be branched and allowed to flow continuously into a drain to stop the water in the pipe freezing, wasting huge amounts of water. The overground pipe went across a road and came loose a couple of times, but was a workable solution. The new underground pipes were fitted over five months later.

Just one point on the graph, but that was our experience of an earthquake. Since we had electrical power, we could move back in a week after the quake. For the first two weeks, we used water out of tanks and buckets, and bathed at onsens. Had the electrical power taken as long as the water, we could not have moved back in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Buried services probably fair better in typhoons but not always in earthquakes with broken pipes. Typhoons can bring flooding which can also cause problems for buried electrical systems. There isn't one solution fits all. Underground work usually takes longer than surface work.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The power company is getting lots of grief here, but lots of people in Chiba have suffered damage to their roofs. By the sound of things, all of them are victims, but the power company is not. The damage it has suffered is due to a "lack of preparedness". This accusation is not being leveled at people with damaged roofs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Here in Sanmu-shi, the SDF has been at my closest city office (Sanbu no Mori Araragikan) for at least a week, providing generators, water trucks, and hot baths in army tents behind the office.

I got my power restored last night, after ten and a half days of no lights, no street lights, no water, no landline or computer, and constant "out of area" messages on my cell phone for both calls and one seg.

The Araragikan had staff there on Monday, hours after the typhoon, working without electricity, but with running water available from outside taps so we locals could fill our water containers. I've learned that it takes at least two 2-liter PET bottles of water to fill a bucket with enough water to flush a toilet.

Once they got a generator going, there were lights and air conditioning and outlets to recharge cell phones and laptops.

By yesterday, things were positively luxurious - handouts of 500 ml and 2-liter PET bottles of water, vegetable juice, wet wipes, baby food, crackers, candies, 100-yen size bread, free Indian curry with fresh-baked naan from restaurant truck volunteers, free omusubi (3 types), free yakiniku and yakisoba and cup noodles, and, and, and...

Seeing the lengthy lines for water, etc., in places like Ichihara and Togane, I'm gladder than ever that I live in the "inaka". In the longest line here for filling containers from the outdoor taps there were 4 people ahead of me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Part of the problem lies in the fact that power lines in Japan are largely above ground.

Which in 2019 is ridiculous for a developed country.

As per my understanding it is done for safety purposes. Japanese well known issue.. Japanese Husband and friends said so.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Roofs made with concrete will withstand a typhoon like our family condo in Florida but floors with tiles or metal sheets will be badly damaged.

Just look at the hurricane damage to the Bahamas. It was total.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How many disasters does it take? They'll forget tomorrow then bring up the question again next time. It's pray and hope it doesn't happen, plain and simple, and we've seen that with TEPCO quite a few times.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Ever since the Abe govt. cracked down on journalists/media that were critical of his regime, I've noticed a lack of criticism against this admin even regarding this screw up and lack of action.

Before 2016, there were a few shows and some news anchors that often exposed and delved into these kinds of issues.

The media really should be blasting this current govt. but I'm not seeing any of it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

TEPCO isn't the only power company to have experienced major supply problems from a disaster such as in Kyushu or the floods in Okayama.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Part of the problem lies in the fact that power lines in Japan are largely above ground

I always thought the reason for this is because of the fears of Soil liquefaction (ie, water gets squeezed out) if there is an earthquake. Ruptured underground electric cables and ground water/burst pipes is a dangerous combination . You can see youtube videos of how scary liquefaction is, if you look for videos of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.

Also, it's easier to find faulty cables and repair them if they are above ground isn't it?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I always thought the reason for this is because of the fears of Soil liquefaction (ie, water gets squeezed out) if there is an earthquake. Ruptured underground electric cables and ground water/burst pipes is a dangerous combination . You can see youtube videos of how scary liquefaction is, if you look for videos of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.

> Also, it's easier to find faulty cables and repair them if they are above ground isn't it?

I don't see the safety benefit. Having them above grounds means you've got concrete poles with live wires falling over, which is obviously also extremely dangerous. Also the downed poles block streets and create barriers for emergency services following a disaster. And, of course, in addition to earthquakes they are also vulnerable to typhoons, which underground lines aren't.

Add on to that the day-to-day hazards that those poles present on narrow streets where they force pedestrians and cyclists into traffic and the way they just make the urban environment so ugly and I think the case for burying them underground like most other countries (including those in earthquake zones) do is overwhelming.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Also, it's easier to find faulty cables and repair them if they are above ground isn't it?

This is what I've always thought to be the reason for it, but I've never heard anyone actually state it.

My town is spending quite of lot of money putting the overhead cables underground on a few of the main thoroughfares (in time for the Olympics, naturally). So far it has been an enormous effort and still nowhere near done.

I've always thought that they could perhaps utilize the sidewalks by raising them a foot or so and chucking all the utilities in there. But what do I know eh.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

High voltage cables would need to be one metre below ground level. The problem for many locations there are already other services in the ground like the drains and sewers pipes, large gas and water pipes. Burying cables has to be done around those.

The residents must suffer months of disruptions. Once the cables are buried then new services need to be run from the local sub stations to the buildings.

Some people seem to imagine you just dig a hole and throw the cables in?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some people seem to imagine you just dig a hole and throw the cables in?

Not saying it wouldn't be disruptive or expensive, but all infrastructure projects face those issues. I'm pretty sure that in a lot of locations the cost-benefit analysis would favor burying them despite the up front cost and inconvenience.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

the cost-benefit analysis would favor burying them despite the up front cost and inconvenience.

As long as you accept the inconvenience and the costs will be suffered by the consumers. TEPCO have already buried many cables within the Tokyo area. The costs are put on the monthly power bills.

And remember that even when the cables are buried the problems don't stop there and the road will be dug up many times for repairs and updates to the cable. So when you are sitting in your car delayed because of cable works will you be happy then?

Road digging got so bad back in Britain a hole law was introduced requiring all the service problems to use the same hole instead of digging separate one's week-after-week.

Seen the same road in London dug up several times for services. Got so bad the road was relaid only the week after that the road was dug up again. Crazy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As long as you accept the inconvenience and the costs will be suffered by the consumers.

The inconvenience and cost of above ground utility poles blanketing the country are already being suffered by consumers, so not really sure how this is substantively worse.

How is me being inconvenienced by road crews repairing overhead wires any less bad than me being inconvenienced by road crews doing maintenance on underground ones?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So many hits and misses on this. Tepco was not prepared which seems ridiculous when watching crews moving and prepping for hurricanes in the states, before they even hit. I suppose you could blame the J Gov since they own a major portion of Tepcow now, but in reality they don't even know how to govern much less run a utility.

Overhead vs underground. This is a tough one to explain when there are so many nuances to each. Power gets restored much faster when repairing overhead lines. Finding the fault in the circuit is so much easier when the wire is laying on the ground in front of you, or you can see the tree branch catching fire or arcing. Unless you have XRAY vision(you don't), finding underground faults is a bit more difficult. Installation costs for underground are more expensive. If done correctly, they are WAY more expensive. The bonus of doing it correctly is that wire replacement can be done quicker than normal. Underground wires MAY last longer, but compared to the cost for the wire, it's still cheaper to replace the overhead lines. There really are too many variables to just spout off about which way would be best for any given application.

I can only say these things due to 30 years in the utility industry ranging from tree trimming to overhead/underground/transmission construction to substations. Things are never as easy as an armchair quarterback makes them sound.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of the factors they used in determining the safest city is the degree to which they are prepared for natural disasters.

Tokyo has plenty of preparation plans, and does regular disaster training.

We were told everything is under control, I need not say how it is.

Holding disaster drills doesn't equate to preparedness. It is not like drills were not held in Chiba, they were held regularly, the level of unpreparedness shows that the things learnt from the disaster drills are not put into disaster planning or nothing was learnt at all or it was a show for feel good purpose.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Photos like this make it easier for me to understand the scope of the problem. I think it would have been extremely dangerous to have volunteers wandering around with live wires strewn about before crews could assess the damage. Also, poles like this normally take at least half a day to install and that is when cables are not in disarray and can simply be transferred to a new pole. What a nightmare this must be for the crews. I bet they are exhausted. Thank goodness the weather has cooled a bit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

High voltage cables would need to be one metre below ground level.

No one is talking about burying high voltage cables. Why do you keep going on about that? High voltage cables are not running along residential streets powering homes. What every single poster has discussed in putting electrical cables within cities underground. Stop trying to confuse the issue by bringing up the cost of burying high voltage cables.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Folks, this is the norm. For the Japanese civil servants and government workers, "preparedness" means wringing your hands and looking nervous. Last year in Hokkaido stores went days without any food and people had trouble getting basic necessities despite no major damage to main roads or the airport. When a really big one hits, it could get ugly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Bububu4

No one is talking about burying high voltage cables. Why do you keep going on about that? High voltage cables are not running along residential streets powering homes.

Yes HV cables are running in residential street, may be not your street, but they do, and transformers are hanging off the utilities poles too. Home voltage cables can not run long distance, they are gradually transormed to smaller and smaller voltage as they run along.

If you had to go underground, 1m is probably the spec for all underground electrical cables, then there are also separation with other services.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Road digging got so bad back in Britain a hole law was introduced requiring all the service problems to use the same hole instead of digging separate one's week-after-week.

They need a law like that here in Japan. Ridiculous how often the road is dug up in the same place. The water, gas, electric companies should be required to coordinate. Would save a whole lot of money, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a nightmare this must be for the crews

and can you imagine if it had been U/G, some body has got to decide where the break is and start digging a trench in the middle of a street, which means vehicles can't access it to repair other services that might be damaged.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

and can you imagine if it had been U/G

I doubt there would have been any damage if they had been buried. The concern with buried cables is with liquefaction during earthquakes. With wind damage, underground cables are safe unless a huge tree uproots the cables or there is a flood and the road is washed away, but with this typhoon it was the winds that were the problem. If cables are buried within prefabricated access tunnels, it would be easier to access a break.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Sh1mon

You're right. I was confused because the other poster was talking about collapsed pylons with high voltage lines. The correct terminology would be super-high voltage lines for those ones, which no one is talking about burying. My mistake, carry on ;)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Almost 25 years on from the Kobe eathquake and they still haven't learned their lessons. In a natural disaster it is better for power lines to be underground.

Most of the delays with Kobe were due to due to collapsed power lines and buildings.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have my own small gasoline run power generator - so was able to power the refrigerator and freezer for the three days we were without. We had yard pathway solar lights which we brought in at night. Many roofs were baked tiles and flew off. I put plastic sheets on several and repositioned tiles which were slipped.

A stockpile of small generators, plastic sheeting, and a shift away from tile roofs would help in the future. We have also purchased several small headband-attached hiking lights for our emergency kit, since it isn’t safe to walk in darkness when power lines and debris are about.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I doubt there would have been any damage if they had been buried. The concern with buried cables is with liquefaction during earthquakes. With wind damage, underground cables are safe unless a huge tree uproots the cables or there is a flood and the road is washed away, but with this typhoon it was the winds that were the problem. If cables are buried within prefabricated access tunnels, it would be easier to access a break.

How so? If other services are damaged, not just directly from earthquakes but also indirectly, such as subsidence, shifts, etc.

...and in a access tunnel? Who's going to pay for this? People are complaining about the cost of electricity now, bare cables dangling off a pole. What you're proposing is not only goldplating infrastructure, it's akin to solid golding infrastructure. Cheaper to buy everyone a generator.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Slides and the like happen locally here and there where as wind damage can be widespread during a typhoon. Technology is changing all the time. They are burying some utilities in the US in underground precast concrete pipes that can be accessed via a manhole. Sure this is future stuff, but replacing technology would happen little by little and paid for over time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pretty sure any/all questions have been fully answered, and those answers aren't good ones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We had yard pathway solar lights which we brought in at night

That seems a brilliant idea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually, the title should read "Post-typhoon blackout answers disaster readiness questions in Japan"...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope Abe and his cronies are getting slammed for this.

There they were parading around in penguin suits while their people were without basic amenities.

However,this being Japan it will be forgotten about as soon as the next 'talento' scandal breaks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope Abe and his cronies are getting slammed for this.

Forget, Will never happen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some of these ideas re lights are very useful. Headlights in your emergency pack, and bring in the solar lighting from the garden! Gotta buy some now! When the big rescue work is still making up its mind, these little things can make a HUGE difference.

For when the water gets cut off, last night’s bath water can help you flush through, if you make a habit of keeping it overnight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would have been cheaper and better if the power co had buried the power cables from day one, the cost of burying them now will cost a fortune, let allown the disruption to the public and traffic

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We live in a part of Chiba with underground power, there were no problems here. With Global warming caused by climate change, more intense and powerful storms are now the new norm. Business as usual is not the answer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry to piss in your cheerios Brian Wheway... Underground wiring didn't exist "day one". If it had...

"Cheaper and better" is sorta untrue. Cheaper by todays cost? Sure. I mean inflation and costs of living make everything "cheaper" back in the day, usually. Better? I doubt it. Technology emerges over time in any industry. Even today's underground cables aren't foolproof or infallible, although they are way better engineered and manufactured than cables in the past. It's an evolution of technology.

The hard to swallow truth is that "day one", it was cheaper and more efficient to install the lines overhead. With the technological evolution that occurs, it is STILL cheaper to put the lines overhead. Although better is still up in the air. Is better a budgetary constraint? A reliability constraint? Or... Aesthetics?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone posted the example of buried cables in the US, but that would surely be easier on miles of flat land, compared to the choppy, hilly areas of Chiba.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"If companies were better prepared, the situation wouldn't have been this serious," said Hirotada Hirose, a retired professor who has written several books on disaster management. "There is a failure to anticipate. They didn't envisage the worst."

You can pretty much say this for almost anything in Japan. No one ever anticipates the harsh reality, until it is too late....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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