Guidelines for Japan major quake to be revised

TOKYO - The government will revise this fiscal year its guidelines on measures for possible earthquakes occurring directly beneath Tokyo, following the publication of a report that estimated a magnitude-7 level quake in Tokyo could kill as many as 23,000 people.

The Central Disaster Management Council's working panel compiled the report on the estimated damage from earthquakes around the magnitude-7 level with a seismic centre directly beneath the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The government also will boost efforts to reduce the impact of such a disaster.

The report estimates that in a worst-case scenario about 23,000 people will be killed and up to about 610,000 buildings will be destroyed or severely damaged.

The estimated economic damage is about ¥95 trillion, about equal to the total amount of the general account in the government budget.

The council, led by former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Hiroya Masuda, analysed that the damage could be reduced by 10 per cent by enhancing the quake resistance of buildings, as well as strengthening fire prevention measures.

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the council began reviewing its previous estimate made in fiscal 2004. The council simulated 19 patterns of magnitude-7 level earthquakes occurring directly beneath Tokyo, each with a different seismic centre, and estimated human and economic damage from one of the patterns-a magnitude-7.3 quake with its seismic centre directly beneath the southern part of central Tokyo, which is expected to cause serious damage to key functions of the capital.