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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 April 18 - 24  > Metropolitan gov’t should drastically strengthen quake-proof measures: JCP
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2012 April 18 - 24 [TOKYO]

Metropolitan gov’t should drastically strengthen quake-proof measures: JCP

April 19, 2012
A Tokyo Metropolitan government panel on disaster prevention (chaired by Governor Ishihara Shintaro) on April 18 released a report estimating that up to about 10,000 people would die if a massive earthquake directly occurs beneath the Tokyo Metropolis.

The worst case scenario would be a powerful magnitude 7.3 quake beneath northern Tokyo Bay, according to the report. An inland quake would claim 9,641 lives, injure 140,000 people, make it difficult for 5.16 million people to return home, and force 3.39 million people to take shelter.

The need now is for the Tokyo government to drastically strengthen its quake-proof measures. However, the metropolitan government under Governor Ishihara is reluctant to fulfill its responsibility to minimize damage from a major earthquake disaster.

Ishihara adversely revised the Earthquake Disaster Prevention Ordinance to focus on “personal responsibility” under which individuals must protect their lives by themselves. He halved budget allocations for disaster prevention projects from 1.45 trillion yen in FY1997 to 521.1 billion yen in FY2010.

Regarding the Tokyo government’s program to subsidize households for seismic reinforcement, the number of households receiving subsidies totaled only 300 during the five years since the program started in 2006. Furthermore, Tokyo’s project for countering expected quake-resultant fires in areas packed with wooden houses is mainly designed for improvement and maintenance of only main roads in certain areas.

The Japanese Communist Party Tokyo Assembly members’ group has repeatedly urged the metropolitan government to carry out anti-quake and anti-tsunami measures to protect wooden houses, lifeline utilities, riverbanks, and water gates, and to draw up a disaster prevention plan based on the latest damage prediction for a quake of seven on the Japanese intensity scale.

JCP Tokyo Assembly member Shimizu Hideko said, “In order to reduce damages caused by a large earthquake, the Tokyo government should strengthen its preventive and emergency measures that include an effort to increase the number of households receiving seismic reinforcement subsidies and the implementation of a plan to strengthen quake-resistant measures on river banks, roads, and bridges without delay.”
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