Day 537

Oh boy..

Huge Nankai quake could kill 320,000 in Japan: gov’t

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Up to 323,000 people could be killed in Japan in the event of a powerful earthquake with its epicenter in the Nankai Trough off central and western parts of the country, the government said Wednesday.

The figure is far larger than the about 19,000 people who died or went missing in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. It also surpasses the government’s previous estimated death toll of 24,700 in 2003.

The latest estimate was made on the assumption that a magnitude 9-class quake hits the country in the middle of the night in winter and that a massive tsunami subsequently occurs along the Pacific coast from Suruga Bay to the Kii Peninsula, the Cabinet Office said.

Of the 323,000 potential victims in 30 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, the Cabinet Office predicted that about 70 percent will be killed by tsunami. In the event of such a natural disaster, it also said that about 623,000 people across Japan could suffer injuries.

The Cabinet Office, however, said that the probability of such a powerful quake is “extremely low.” The rise in the number of victims from the 2003 estimate is mainly attributable to the government’s decision to double the size of the focal area and raise the magnitude of a possible quake in the wake of the 2011 unprecedented disaster.

Still, to prepare for the worst-case scenario, the office will create new countermeasures against natural calamities by the end of March, while the government will consider formulating special laws by cooperating with the private sector.

Of the 47 prefectures, Shizuoka in central Japan is expected to be hit the hardest, with the number of expected deaths totaling 109,000, according to the Cabinet Office.

Among the Pacific coastal towns that are expected to experience tsunami after the quake, the town of Kuroshio in Kochi Prefecture is expected to see the highest wave reaching 19 meters in height.

When making these predictions, the Cabinet Office assumed that only 20 percent of people would evacuate immediately after the quake.

If all people escape within 20 minutes of the quake, the number of tsunami victims can be reduced by half, the office said.

Experts said that the number of victims could be reduced substantially if there were adequate evacuation plans and other necessary measures.

Due to tsunami, up to 1,015 square kilometers of land in 24 prefectures could be submerged in total with a water depth of 1 centimeter or more, which is about 1.8 times bigger than the area flooded in the wake of the 2011 disaster, according to the office.

Of the 1,015 sq. km of land, a total of 602 sq. km is expected to be flooded with water reaching a depth of 1 meter or more, a level which could kill almost all people. The size of the area is almost equivalent to one third of Osaka Prefecture, home to Japan’s second largest metropolitan area.

If a huge quake strikes the country at 6 p.m. in winter, when many gas stoves and other heating appliances are used, and if massive tsunami waves occur off the Shikoku to Kyushu regions, a total of 2.38 million buildings are likely to be completely destroyed or burned down, the office said.

August 29, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

And from NHK:

Nankai Trough quake could kill 323,000 in Japan

The Japanese government has released projections that up to 323,000 people could be killed in a massive earthquake and tsunami that could possibly occur near the Nankai Trough along the country’s Pacific coast.

The government on Wednesday released detailed damage estimates based on a scenario with a magnitude 9 mega-quake near the trough off central to western Japan. The data is a follow-up to information released by the government in March.

Last year, the government set up a panel of experts to review preparative measures for any massive quake.

The panel estimates that a tsunami of more than 30 meters high could hit parts of Kochi and Shizuoka prefectures and part of Tokyo’s Izu Islands.
It also estimates that 23 municipalities in 8 prefectures could experience a tsunami 20 meters or higher.

These tsunamis are forecast to flood up to more than 1,000 square kilometers, which is 1.8 times larger than the areas inundated by the giant tsunami in March last year.

In the worst case projection a total 323,000 people could die in 30 prefectures in regions from Kanto, around Tokyo, to Kyushu, in southern Japan.

More than 2.38 million homes and other buildings would be either destroyed or burnt down by tremors, fire or tsunami.

The projection also shows that the casualties could be reduced by up to about 80 percent if people evacuate quickly and make use of safe buildings for shelter.

The government estimates that the number of collapsed buildings will probably decrease by about 40 percent if the ratio of anti-quake resistant buildings is increased.

Aug. 29, 2012 – Updated 10:41 UTC (19:41 JST)

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NISA’s New Safety Standard May Allow Nuclear Reactors on Top of Active Faults to Continue Operation

(No, this is not an April Fool’s Day’s joke.)

Totally, absolutely in line with Prime Minister Noda’s intention of seeking the “fourth way”for the future energy policy on reliance on nuclear power, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (which is still the one and only regulatory agency over the nuclear industry in Japan) is now considering installing a new safety standard:

You can continue to operate a nuclear reactor even if the reactor happens to sit on top of an active fault, as long as the expected size of dislocation is small enough.

This Kyodo News has the largest number of retweets I’ve seen on the websites of the Japanese mainstream media, currently with 9,015 retweets.

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Elderly Evacuees from Futaba-machi Living in School Bldg in Saitama Will Be Made to Pay for Their Boxed Meals, Starting September 1st

What a country. Wonder of the Orient.

Just remember that this country (Japan) is still the third largest economy in the world. But after more than 17 months since the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident, hardly anyone cares that these people are still living in school classrooms. It’s worse than not caring, because now they will charge for the bento (meal in a box), which will cost these elderly residents 30,000 to 40,000 yen per person per month (US$381 to 508 per person per month).

Where do they have such money? No one cares. The evacuees from the same town, Futaba-machi, who have moved to temporary housing and other rental properties, have complained that they are not getting free meals, so everyone gotta pay, to be fair.

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Well, then, the protests will just have to continue, won’t they?

Japanese Government’s Energy Policy (Reliance on Nuclear Power in 2030) May Go the “Fourth Way”, Not Even Presented to the Citizens in Opinion Surveys

What a joke. Totally predictable but joke nonetheless.

Remember my post about nearly 90,000 public comments from the Japanese citizens and residents about the future energy policy of the Japanese government, where nearly 90% want “zero nuclear”? Also remember the so-called experts in big-name universities whose expertise is in polling and sampling stressing the “quality” over “quantity”? There were three choices that people could comment on: 0% reliance on nuclear power by 2030, 15% reliance, or 25% reliance.

Now, drum rolls please. Here comes your national government under Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda declaring that the government may opt for the “fourth way“.

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