Report Japan Earthquake Worries

August 14, 2000

A report by the Associated Press reveals increasing concern in Japan that “a big one” may occur at any time, and could reach or exceed the level of the 1923 earthquake which killed over 100,000 people in Tokyo and left widespread destruction.

It cites a recent upsurge in seismic and related volcanic activity as evidence that a catastrophe may be imminent. Nearly 12,000 quakes have been recorded in the last two months, and several warnings have been issued by Japanese authorities.

Experts agree that, based on historical experience, Tokyo may be due for another quake, but stress that, due to emergency measures and improved building safety codes, losses would be much less than those caused by the 1923 disaster.

A recent study estimated that a magnitude 7 quake would nevertheless result in 7100 deaths and the destruction of 500,000 homes. The Kobe earthquake five years ago killed 6000 people and destroyed large parts of the city.

The report concludes that the concerns have caused people to consider increasing their earthquake coverage.

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