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Tokyo’s iconic 109 department store designated most likely building to collapse in earthquake

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Since 1979, the Shibuya 109 skyscraper has stood tall, literally, as the epicenter of trendy young women’s fashion in Tokyo. A recent government study, though, considered what would happen if it were the epicenter of an earthquake, and the results weren’t nearly as pretty as the gyaru and one-kei outfits that have been purchased at 109 over the years.

The study examined the stability of 852 buildings in Tokyo, including large structures such as hospitals, schools, and department stores as well as buildings located near major transportation arteries such as high-speed Shinkansen rail tracks and expressways. Were a magnitude-six earthquake (on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale, which differs from the Richter scale and tops out at seven), centered below Tokyo, to strike the capital, 251 of the examined buildings are in danger of collapsing, according to the study.

Out of those 251 buildings, researchers subdivided them into three categories, based on how likely they are to topple in the face of a magnitude-six quake. Thankfully, 250 of the buildings were classified as Type 2 or 3, the less likely to fall. But the one and only building to receive a Type 1 designation, indicating the greatest danger of collapse? Shibuya’s 109.

Were Shibuya 109 to fall, it would cause problems even beyond the danger to the lives of the employees and customers inside its dozens of boutiques. The main tower stands roughly 50 meters tall, and were it to crumble, it would clog the unique triangular intersection the building is located at, blocking emergency response teams from making their way through the neighborhood and also cutting off access to nearby Shibuya Station, one of the Tokyo’s most important transportation hubs.

Thankfully, in addition to the existing anti-earthquake retrofitting that’s been added to Shibuya 109 since its construction, another set of stability-boosting additions is planned for next fiscal year. Unfortunately, the building is jointly owned by a number of entities, who aren’t currently in agreement about what exact measures to take, so for the time being, shoppers will apparently just have to keep their fingers crossed and hope any rumbling they feel beneath their feet is simply from the club hits 109’s stores regularly pump through their speakers.

Sources: Livedoor News/News Post Seven via Otakomu

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© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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Remind me not to go shopping there

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In today's world that building is hardly a skyscraper, but either way, the age of the building tells much about the construction, and if it has been designated as such, maybe it's about time for some modernization and tear the place down and rebuild.

Japan has some of, if not the best,(relatively speaking) earthquake safe construction/buildings on the planet. If the authorities are worried, or have these concerns about specific buildings being a threat to public safety when a major earthquake occurs they need to stop talking about it and do something!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

if it has been designated as such, maybe it's about time for some modernization and tear the place down and rebuild.

Agree.

If the authorities are worried, or have these concerns about specific buildings being a threat to public safety when a major earthquake occurs they need to stop talking about it and do something!

Especially if one hit during the Olympics. I mean they're going around Tokyo doing this and that for the Olympics, but it seems to me that safety should be the number one priority.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And with multiple owners unable to agree on mitigation, no one will be held responsible if it does collapse. Each owner can claim they had a plan but others blocked it. They can just bow and apologize and retire in luxury....I mean "disgrace".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

More spineless inaction from the local authorities. "Oh, there are multiple owners so it's muzukashii and shikata ga nai."

They should force it to close. That would get it repaired very quickly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But if this building has been designated as a category 1 risk then surely the safety regulators must close it down right now? Regardless of ownership issues etc. A large earthquake could happen anytime. Or is it turning over too much in sales - oh right, I see now...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hard to believe this is the most earthquake-vulnerable skyscraper in the whole of Tokyo.

Rather, I strongly suspect that this famous building was just chosen deliberately to highlight the issue of earthquake preparedness.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese emergency services said 330, 000 causulties and 1 million buildings damages in the upcoming earthquake and tsunami.

why pick on one building?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wonder if someone is looking to buy that location and rebuild a new store ? It's value must certainly have dropped overnight.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

and the results weren’t nearly as pretty as the gyaru and one-kei outfits that have been purchased at 109 over the years.

> shoppers will apparently just have to keep their fingers crossed and hope any rumbling they feel beneath their feet is simply from the club hits 109’s stores regularly pump through their speakers.

Please, just stop!

Unfortunately, the building is jointly owned by a number of entities, who aren’t currently in agreement about what exact measures to take,

Meaning, no one wants to pay money for safety. If its really a category 1 risk I wonder why the authorities are not closing it down or are they waiting for an accident to happen first?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rather, I strongly suspect that this famous building was just chosen deliberately to highlight the issue of earthquake preparedness.

I tend to agree. I'd be interested to know what the other 851 buildings are and how they were chosen. There must be many buildings in Shibuya that are bigger and just as old. I used to work in one further up the street in the early 1980s that made some scary noises during small earthquakes. I think it's still there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NoIdeaAboutAnythingApr. 12  03:59 pm JST

I wonder if someone is looking to buy that location and rebuild a new store ? It's value must certainly have dropped overnight.

I doubt the price is affected by this news as it's the land that holds the value now and not the old building on it, which would certainly be demolished and rebuilt with something much larger anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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