Future Quakes in Japan Predicted to Be Worse Than in 2011

New data just released from the Central Disaster Management Council has raised fears that an earthquake of magnitude 9 striking in the 750-km Nankai Trough, which runs from Honshu to Kyushu, Japan, could lead to possibly hundreds of thousands of deaths, mainly due to tsunamis that will be higher and faster than the one that occurred after March 2011’s deadly Japan quake. The economic impact from such an earthquake is also predicted to be greater than previous quakes, according to a report from www.japantimes.co.jp.

The Council chose to include extreme conditions in its report to emphasize the importance of being prepared for the next big earthquake. And while such predictions may be extreme, officials hope to drive home the point that a culture of preparedness is necessary, even if the predictions have little chance of coming true.

Towns and cities across Japan are now weighing their options in light of the new estimates. In the hopes of jumping ahead of the next disaster, some are even planning on moving crucial residential areas from low-lying zones to higher-elevated areas to prevent the unnecessary loss of life — a loss that can be prevented through proper planning.

By preparing for a worst-case scenario, planners have a better chance of properly preparing their citizens for disaster and making sure that resources are allocated beforehand to ensure a faster and safer recovery. The loss of human life is the worst that can happen in a disaster situation, and working to prevent any loss of life is what every effective disaster planner strives to achieve. This is why it is important to look at the worst case, the Council emphasized. By planning for the worst to happen, planners can avoid being caught by surprise.

One key point learned in Japan’s quest to determine when such big earthquakes will happen is that such events are unpredictable, which is why preparation is so important. Knowing what they now know following last year’s quake, officials have no excuse to be unprepared in the future. By preparing more fully now, the next great earthquake can be handled more effectively.

For more information about the Council’s new data, visit: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120413f1.html