Huge Quake off Northern Japan Could Cause 199,000 Deaths: Govt

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Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--A 9-magnitude-class earthquake off northern Japan could cause up to 199,000 deaths in the country as wide areas would be hit by devastating tsunamis, a Japanese government panel said Tuesday.

The central disaster management council called for additional disaster prevention measures, saying that the number of deaths could be reduced to around 30,000 through early evacuation and construction of tsunami evacuation buildings.

In its latest quake damage estimates, the council’s working group predicted that nine prefectures in northern to eastern Japan, most of them facing the Pacific Ocean--Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba--would suffer significant damage if such a huge offshore quake happened in the Japan Trench or the Chishima Trench, also known as the Kuril Trench, in the Pacific.

The potential temblor would destroy up to some 220,000 buildings, most of them by tsunamis, and cause economic damage worth some 31.3 trillion yen, including damage to infrastructure facilities, according to the estimates.

The council calculated estimates under varying conditions, such as the season and time of day of the quake’s occurrence.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press