Tag Archives: earthquake

Tokyo-centered Earthquake Could Kill 23,000

earthquakes infographic

Skeptikai has had many articles on what I expect will be what everyone has been calling “The Big One” for years. That is, a catastrophic earthquake in the most densely populated city in the world – Tokyo. I never look forward to writing about the potential damage from such an event, but it’s important to keep up with the latest research, and there have been more predictions by the experts in recent months.

A panel of experts spoke last month about this. From Asahi:

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Predicting Ten Thousand Deaths in the Next Big Tokyo Earthquake


Millions of people in Japan are getting ever more nervous that “The Big One” will come soon – the earthquake that strikes Tokyo, the heart of Japan. This concern is certainly justified, ever since the 2011 earthquake raised the probability so dramatically. The last time I reported, newest research from the Tokyo University’s Earthquake Research Institute (ERI) found that there’s a 70% chance that a magnitude 7 quake will hit by 2016. Though a M7 is not nearly as big as the M9 quake that caused last year’s tsunami, Tokyo is one of the most heavily populated cities in the world, so the death toll will likely be substantial.

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Tsunami Survival Guide: Japanese Culture is Not Conducive to Staying Alive

If you have Japanese values, you shouldn’t expect to survive a devastating tsunami – let me explain. After Principal Michiko Kishima of Nobiru Elementary School felt the magnitude 9 earthquake on March 11, she immediately started following protocol. She ushered around 350 students and teachers into the gymnasium, located about five kilometres from the Miyagi coast, instead of leading them to higher ground up the hills behind the campus. “We didn’t think about fleeing up the mountain,” she said, in an interview a month after the incident. “We were prepared for aftershocks, not a tsunami.” With internet connections and cellphone networks disrupted, there was no way to know that a tsunami was heading towards them. “We would have gone up the mountain road; but there was no information, so I had to follow official policy.” The thunderous tsunami drowned many, and more froze to death by the end of the night. Could this have been avoided? It’s easy to say yes in hindsight, but the truth is that there are places that had the foresight to prevent such casualties. And surprisingly, such survivors went against everything the Japanese culture stands for.

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Earthquake Research Says Tokyo May Get “The Big One” Within the Next Few Years

I have been covering earthquake predictions in Japan for a few months, and unfortunately the news has been getting progressively worse. I wrote a detailed article about this before, explaining the risks and implications of a powerful earthquake in Tokyo, but researchers from the University of Tokyo are challenging those earlier predictions. The situation, they say, is much more worrisome than we thought, and the danger may come much earlier than expected.

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Eastern Japan to Brace for Another M9 Earthquake Within 30 years

Japanese scientists are revising their earthquake prediction levels because of new information that has been analyzed since the Great Eastern-Japan Earthquake, according to the Asahi Shimbun. I haven’t seen this discussed by any English media outlets, so I’m just going to translate the main parts of that article. Basically, taken in the context of earthquakes in Japan as a whole, it means that the next 30 years are probably going to be pretty rough on Japan.

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Top 4 Documentaries on the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake

If there’s one good thing we can say about nature’s merciless beating of Eastern Japan on March 11, it’s that this incident became the most studied natural disaster in the world. Aside from Japan’s extensive scientific detection instruments, ordinary people from coastguards to tourists had documented what happened. With all the information we have now, scientists are piecing together important points that help us understand, prevent, or prepare for another such devastating earthquake. Following are some fantastic documentaries that show a great deal of information in a format that’s very easy for the layperson to understand.

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The Cherry Blossoms Shall Bloom Again – An Overlooked Factor in National Unity

We’re now six months after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, and it’s time to look back on something so many foreign reporters talk about. In the days following the disaster, people were helping each other out, waiting in long lines for food, water, and gas, and were basically being what the foreign media (FM) thought was impossible – patient and calm. There are endless accounts of generosity towards strangers, and it seemed like everyone in Japan was looking out for one another. The question on everyone’s mind was “why,” considering the chaotic behaviour the world has witnessed in recent years. I offer an additional answer that it seems like everyone missed because… as you’ll see… you had to be there.

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Tokyo Likely to Get a Big Earthquake

At the risk of sounding like I’m sensationalizing things… Tokyo is at risk. This is a metropolis that houses around 35 million people (even more than the entire population of Canada, the 2nd biggest country in the world) and I do seriously fear for the safety of people in the area. The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of March 11 was damaging not because it was perhaps the biggest earthquake in Japan’s history (it at least the biggest since Japan started recording earthquake data), but because it triggered the tsunami that killed tens of thousands. In truth, the earthquake probably only killed hundreds, and many of those were in Tokyo. Now, scientists are saying that Tokyo is at risk for a massive earthquake right under its feet. That has got me worried.

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Land of the Scorching Sun – Part 1

The people of Eastern Japan are now in a constant struggle between resisting the fierce heat and trying to conserve energy. As I mentioned earlier, this makes for a very dangerous summer. So far we have not had summer blackouts, as the region has been quite successful in minimizing energy usage since the earthquake. However, we have come extremely close to exceeding the energy usage limit, and there are now scores of people being treated for heat-related illnesses. The humidity is as intense as ever, and people are still debating about whether certain drastic measures ought to be taken in order to further conserve power.

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Award-Winning Homage to Trains

Japan was the first country to really have significant high-speed railway technology, when the 0 series Shinkansen (which in English was called the “bullet train” because of its speed and shape) came out in 1964. The demand to move people between cities like Tokyo and Osaka drove the engineers to connect the country via trains, and the slow-moving versions just weren’t doing it. Flash forward today, and virtually everywhere is connected by trains in Japan. They’re fast, safe, and pretty much considered the gold standard of train technology among other nations, many of which are using Japanese technology as a model. But despite the fact that most trains connect us from one end of the nation to the other, the southern region of Japan, Kyushu, has only been connected by shinkansen this year. There was even a great commercial made for its debut, but practically no one had heard of it. Why? Because it aired at the same time as the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.

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