Up to 6,100 in Tokyo predicted to die in worst-case quake scenario


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.


©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

That is in worst case scenario? A whole lot of 0000s missing from that one. A panel of experts really? When ever has a Japanese Government panel of experts been right? “So who would have expected such a huge tsunami, at sea level????? ” A disaster with condominiums toppling, bridges collapsing gas lines broken, fires, trains not working power out. 6100? It might be their immediate family they are talking about.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

Nobody knows how many will die in an earthquake-meaningless!

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Thats cause for concern.

Evaluating a possible disaster fatalities amount and not announcing the emergency contingency strategy plan doesn't put the public at ease.

Preparedness response and emergency awareness of evacuation routes especially for elderly or disabled and infants.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Of the estimated deaths, 3,209 would be caused by collapsed buildings and 2,482 by fires, the report said.

I echo cricky's sentiments here, these numbers lack some zeros, despite how disaster prepared Tokyo is. I can't even imagine how devastating an earthquake-tsunami and widespread fire combo would be should it happen.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Of the estimated deaths, 3,209 would be caused by collapsed buildings and 2,482 by fires, the report said.

Want to talk about worse case scenarios?

what happens if like in 2011 we get a tsunami? and what if it reaches the shores of Tokyo during rush hour? how many are going to drown in the underground subway system?

8 ( +14 / -6 )

They should decentralize Tokyo to minimize the disaster impacts. Don't have to build a new capital, just relocate some key functions for survival. For example, the Digital Agency has no reason to stay in Tokyo.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Only 6,100 to lose their lives?

Yeah, sure.

Heaps of optimism.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

But thanks in part to subsidies for demolishing old housing units or replacing them with new ones, the acreage of such areas has shrunk over the years to about 8,600 hectares in 2020.

The panel of experts indicated that if further measures are taken, the number of deaths from collapsed buildings and fires could be reduced to around 800.

So the objective is just to justify the all concrete policy and kicking away of poorer family. I guess they will start counting people dying because of falling tree when they will need more space for their concrete jungle.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Up to around 6,100 people would die in the event a major earthquake hits the heart of Tokyo, the metropolitan government said

I don't believe that only 6100 people would die in the case of a MAJOR EARTHQUAKE in the HEART of TOKYO.

The numbers would be X times higher, but then probably government would say it was a MEGA quake and those numbers they gave you are for a MAJOR earthquake.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

As above… add some zeros.

4.5 million people will be spending quite a lot of time outdoors, far from home. Hopefully the weather is good. Thousands of power poles will probably collapse, leaving convenience stores and supermarkets unable to sell food to these people. (The staff won’t have authority to give it away) The phone system will be jammed of course, if still operating.

I wouldn’t want to be a 1+ hour train ride from home when the big one hits. I live in Chūō-ku Tokyo and in 2011 the streets were jammed to a halt with cars and people walking outwards from the center of Tokyo. Cars didn’t move at some of my local traffic lights for an hour or more. bridges were the choke points.

It was like this all night. It will be 10x worse if Tokyo is the center of the quake.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They should decentralize Tokyo to minimize the disaster impacts.

absolutely! provide major tax incentives for people to move to more rural areas and cut down on home property taxes. Reform empty homes and offer them for peanuts for young families. Reward companies with tax exemptions for relocating factories and offices in rural areas, and for allowing more employees to work from home. Japan has plenty of space to accommodate these workers. They just have to think outside the box.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Wow. Four years ago they predicted 335,000 deaths with 1,000,000 building destroyed. How times have changed.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A strange prediction, and with such a number , not 6,000 but 6,100 , trying to show some pseudo-scientific methodologies and statistical accuracy? Fukushima wouldn’t have happened if they really were able to correctly predict anything.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Don't forget, this comes from the same nations that says they are ready for anything because a guy will dress up in a zebra costume in a pre-taught scenario, and walk willingly into the hands of zookeepers.

Sorry, but I would guess that the number would be well over 10,000, and possibly in the tens of thousands. It doesn't take into account the mass panic that would ensue, and even violence, not to mention trouble with response by authorities, fire fighters, rescue workers, and more. And if the quake results in liquefaction of land, it would be even worse. Here's hoping we don't see any big ones at all, but I don't think it's healthy to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief based on simulations.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Err...Like everybody above, do I tend to find the figures incredibly low...

Here, the figures from 2020:


Professor Akira Fuse, an expert who simulates the impacts of natural disasters, says Government modelling suggests that if a 7.3-magnitude quake struck the capital, almost 10,000 people would die.

This ties into the article mentioning that the death figure is lowered down. Still...

"Nearly 20,000 people will have serious injuries from the earthquake alone — they will survive the disaster but will be in severe condition," he said.

The death toll could further spiral in the days after a significant disaster.

If there is a shortage of medical staff, there is a possibility that about 6,000 people among the 20,000 will die because of lack of treatment.


For him, another nightmare scenario would be a Shindo 7 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Nankai Trough on the country's south coast.

"If the Nankai Trough quake happens, 320,000 people are expected to die if no measures are taken," Professor Matsuo said.

The Nankai Trough part of the problem is not mentioned in the article...Shoddy journalism or pre-election sale of "optimism"?

Also, the article is 2 years old. It is dubious that while Japan (and its heath services) were struggling with COVID that much "improved".

Here a much more recent article (March 2022):

A major earthquake hitting Tokyo is not a matter of conjecture, just one of time, say experts who forecast a major temblor will strike below the metropolitan area within 30 years. 

*An estimate prepared for such an event assumes that in addition to a high death toll, at least 6,000 injured people would die from being unable to receive timely medical treatment.*

These are 6,000 people dying from lack of post-disaster treatment...Also...

The central government estimates that 23,000 people will perish in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of China, Kanagawa and Saitama if a magnitude-7.3 quake hits the area. Injuries in the capital would come to around 20,000, the Tokyo metropolitan government estimates.

So what is Kyodo offering this morning:

.a very (if not, only) Tokyo-centric article

.no mention of the Nankai Trough disaster

.fumbling around with death figures during and post-disaster

While I do get that simulation models do improve over time, I kind of doubt that this will happen over the last 2-months...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Seems low given the population density. Maybe if it was before 6am like Kobe with everyone in their homes or beds.

With millions on the trains, roads, and streets with masonry falling off buildings, I'd imagine the number would be higher. Given the shaking and the vast number of people exposed to it, it will still be a relatively low number. The standard of earthproofing in Japan is high, with the biggest risk being in older buildings.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That's a very conservative number. I would multiply that by 10. Many old neighborhoods are littered with non-earthquake-proof structures built on super narrow streets that will be death traps as fires rage through when gas lines rupture.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan must be the most dangerous earthquake island. Are you sure that the island won't also sink like the Atlantis??!.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Just imagining a worst case scenario on a busy weekday; tall buildings fallen, subways and underground passages crushed, basements flooded, highways collapsed, emergency services overwhelmed, power off, water off, communications down, fax machines inoperative, and no-one in charge or willing to make tough decisions.

6,100 is an extremely low estimate.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think my biggest fear is that following a large earthquake, I'd be inside some stopped train or subway and not be able to open the doors. There could be some large tsunami on the way and I'd be stuck inside some crowded train car. I assume they have emergency exits that open, but my fear is that the exits would be controlled by a driver who may or may not chose to open them in time for me to escape. I would imagine that the conductor would try to keep everyone inside the car for as long as possible until he got the "ok" from headquarters to open the doors. That could take some time. People would be panicking if their were rumors of a wave coming. The experts say a tsunami can reach shore after 20 minutes of forming in the ocean. I'm just not sure thats going to be enough time for me to escape from the train, hop a fence, and scale a nearby building.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There are many initiatives/projects to encourage people to leave Tokyo, but what's needed is for the seat of government to move. Japan has has several capitals, so not as if it's never been done

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You can add at least a couple of zeros to that figure.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


Which of Japan's 6852 are you referring to ?

And Atlantis was in the Atlantic ocean just incase you don't know.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Many people are thinking the numbers are too low, but we should perhaps look at the Hanshin earthquake of 1995. That hit an intensity of 7 across built up areas. About 6,500 died. Would it be so different in Tokyo?

Maybe if it was before 6am like Kobe with everyone in their homes or beds.

Many people in Kobe died at home when the floor of their building collapsed. Others from fires in older residential areas. It's difficult to say whether the numbers would have been so different if it had occurred later.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's very optimistic compared to the great kanto earthquake.

If there's less risk of fire and tsunami then maybe it's the case that less people would die.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No need to worry, folks - many of our highest buildings, which house tens of thousands of workers during business hours use good strong Kobe Steel.

That passed the most rigorous safety tests with flying colours.

Oh, wait a moment...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites