(AP)—Much of Japan’s Pacific coast could be inundated by a tsunami more
than 34 meters (112 feet) high if a powerful earthquake hits offshore,
according to revised estimates by a government panel.
panel of experts says any tsunami unleashed by a magnitude-9.0
earthquake in the Nankai trough, which runs east of Japan’s main island
of Honshu to the southern island of Kyushu, could top 34 m at its
An earlier forecast in 2003 put the potential maximum height of such a tsunami at less than 20 m (66 feet).
March’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake spawned a 14-m (45-foot) wave that
devastated most of Japan’s northeastern coast and triggered meltdowns at
a nuclear power plant.
revised tsunami projections, contained in a report released Saturday
and posted on a government website, are based on new research following
last March’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated a
long stretch of Japan’s northeastern coast and killed about 19,000
year’s catastrophe and the ensuing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear power plant, prompted sweeping reviews of Japan’s disaster
preparedness and criticism over apparent failures to take into account
tsunami knocked out power at the 40-year-old coastal nuclear plant,
leading to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Tens of
thousands of residents have had to leave the area, and it’s unclear
whether some will ever be able to move back.
Fukushima plant was designed to withstand a 6-m (20-ft) tsunami, less
than half the height of the surge that hit it on March 11, 2011.
latest forecast shows a tsunami of up to 21 m (69 ft) could strike near
the Hamaoka nuclear plant. Its operator, Chubu Electric Power Co., is
building an 18-m (59-ft) high sea wall to counter tsunamis. The wall is
due to be completed next year.
plant was shut down in 2011 due to estimates it has a 90% chance of
being hit by a magnitude 8.0 or higher quake within 30 years.
other unsettling news, another government report shows that a strong
earthquake hitting the Tokyo Bay region could shake the Tokyo-Yokohama
metropolitan area—home to more than 33 million people—at the maximum
seismic intensity of 7 on the Japanese scale.
report, issued Friday by the Ministry of Education, came in the form of
mapping that shows that much of the Tokyo region would likely
experience severe shaking from a magnitude-7.3 earthquake inside Tokyo
study prompted calls for Tokyo residents to be better prepared for such
disasters. Although they live with the constant threat of a major
earthquake that experts have long said is overdue for the region, not
all living in the region keep recommended water and other supplies on
report in the newspaper Asahi Shimbun listed troubles that might be
expected from a major quake, such as electricity outages that could
persist for more than a week and water supply disruptions that could
last for nearly a month, based on government estimates.
revised tsunami forecast for a possible Nankai earthquake says Tokyo
could expect waves up to 2.3 m (7.6 ft) high. But at the coastal town of
Kuroshio, on the island of Shikoku, the tsunami could top 34 m (112
ft), it shows.
The computer modeling for the revised forecasts assumes a high tide for the highest estimates.
Source: The Associated Press