QUARTERLY REVIEW No.19 / April 2006
Despite the fact that Japan and the seas around it account for only about 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, approximately 10 percent of the
world’s earthquakes of magnitude 8.0 or greater during the 20th century occurred in Japan or its vicinity, it shows Japan is one of the most
earthquake-prone countries in the world. Japan is also a leader in earthquake disaster management. Since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of
January 1995, various technologies for earthquake disaster management have been developed. In March 2005, the Central Disaster
Management Council established an “Earthquake Disaster Management Reduction” that sets concrete goals for disaster mitigation by
strategically and intensively promoting steps that include making housing and public
facilities earthquake-resistant and tsunami countermeasures. The strategy sets a clear goal of reducing
by half over the next 10 years the probable deaths and economic damage from a Tokai
Earthquake, which is possible at any time, or a Tohnankai/Nankai Earthquake, which appears likely during the first half of the 21st century.
We will now turn our attention to recent trends and future issues in earthquake disaster
management in Japan.
Of Japan’s approximately 60 million households, 17.5 million were built before 1982. Of these, an estimated 11.5 million are not
sufficiently resistant to earthquakes. Making homes and buildings earthquake-resistant
is effective not only in terms of saving lives, but also in mitigating fire damage and the number
of fires, reducing the need for rescue and first-aid activities related to collapsed structures, and preventing impediments to recovery and
Learning from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, Japan has undertaken new measures and strengthened and improved existing ones in
order to mitigate earthquake damage.
3-1 Preparation of a seismic observation
3-2 Prompt communication of data obtained
through seismic observation
3-3 Earthquake warning bulletins
3-6 Making homes and buildings earthquake
4 Current and future issues
In order to reduce earthquake damage, the
following issues should be addressed.
4-1 Completion of a seafloor seismograph
4-2 Replacement of seismographs and
improvement of the reception system
4-3 Establishment of preferential treatment to
promote earthquake resistance
4-4 Creation and distribution of hazard maps
4-5 Promotion of multipurpose conduits