巨大地震防災 強化地域の対策推進が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 29, 2014
Designated quake areas must implement safety precautions immediately
巨大地震防災 強化地域の対策推進が急務だ(3月29日付・読売社説)

Countermeasures to deal with possible gigantic earthquakes and tsunami must be implemented without delay. It is hoped that the government’s designation of municipalities for boosting preparations for huge earthquakes will serve as an earnest step toward the local adoption of antiquake measures.

The government’s Central Disaster Management Council on Friday designated a total of 1,017 cities, towns and villages in Tokyo and 31 other prefectures for boosting measures against projected huge earthquakes with focuses in the Nankai Trough or the surface of Tokyo.

A Nankai Trough earthquake is projected to result in more than 300,000 fatalities and more than ¥200 trillion in damage. A massive temblor with a focus directly under Tokyo, meanwhile, is projected to leave more than 20,000 people dead and put the city at risk of losing its functions as the capital. Thus, countermeasures to prepare for disasters and reduce damage are extremely important tasks of fundamental concern to the nation.

Designated municipalities will each compile and implement a disaster management plan based on the special measures law for dealing with the two projected earthquakes, which was enforced late last year.

But municipalities with weak financial foundations will find limitations in pursuing countermeasures on their own. It is necessary for the government to effectively provide support by putting priority on their projects.

Under the terms of the special measures law, the government will shoulder two-thirds of the costs when municipalities designated for a Nankai Trough earthquake establish shelters to escape tsunami. It will also pay three-fourths of the cost for purchasing land to relocate primary and middle schools.

In the heart of Tokyo, where a major earthquake is expected to cause major damage, the procedures to approve work to widen roads and to construct or improve parks have been simplified.

It is hoped that such means of government support will be used effectively.

Local govts unprepared

Those municipalities must tackle a mountain of challenges. For example, only slightly more than 10 percent of cities, towns and villages required to take measures against tsunami have created hazard maps. Nearly 20 percent of the designated municipalities do not have a disaster management radio system for the local government to use.

A serious concern is that a number of areas are reluctant to take countermeasures, saying that they cannot possibly take steps when the projected damage is too great to handle.

In Nagoya, where vast areas are expected to be inundated by tsunami, work to make houses earthquake-resistant has not progressed as hoped. Many residents say they cannot bear the expenses of renovating their houses when they know their homes will be washed away by tsunami.

In parts of Shikoku, where tsunami measuring as high as 30 meters would hit as early as four minutes after the quake, some residents have given up all hope of escaping.

Whether residents can survive a disaster hinges upon the steady implementation of countermeasures. The central and local governments should explain the basic principles of disaster management to residents to win their cooperation in this regard.

The Central Disaster Management Council also compiled outlines for taking action against all possible huge earthquakes that could hit various areas across Japan, including the Nankai Trough region and Tokyo.

The outlines call for, among others, precautions in the event that the transportation network is paralyzed, dealing with people facing difficulties returning home, and making facilities to be used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games earthquake-resistant.

The central and local governments should act in concert to fully meet such requirements.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 29, 2014)
(2014年3月29日01時35分  読売新聞)

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