10,000 Tokyo quake deaths?

Tokyo Life - April 19th, 2012
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Are you worried about the latest forecast for the number of deaths a mega-quake would mean for Tokyo?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said on Wednesday that if a large earthquake hit the northern Tokyo Bay area, nearly 10,000 people would die. This figure even takes into account lessons learned, and changes made, since the March 11 earthquake last year, which took upwards of 15,000 lives. We may never know the precise figure.

So what does it mean for us Tokyoites?

This kind of research is clearly invaluable in promoting awareness of the need to be prepared, and while some may call it scaremongering, we would do well to listen. The Government officials seem to recognise the need to get across their message, ‘never say never’. In times of disaster, how many times have you heard eyewitnesses repeat their assumptions, ‘I never thought it would happen to me, not here…’

But it could. So, what do we need to do? Well, government agencies need to be prepared, of course, but everyone needs to do their bit. A lot of us will remember moving to Tokyo and slowly working out that small quakes were the norm, but how long did it take you to realise all the little things we need to do to combat this? Be it keeping your wine glasses and heavy books on low shelves, or, importantly, keeping a kit of supplies in case the water or power is cut off, we all must remember to take the threat seriously. Some people, even here in the Kanto region, found out the hard way in 2011; do you always keep a large bottle of water and a torch near the bed, or front door?

We must, however, live comfortably in Tokyo. This is a great city – we all know how fantastically diverse and exciting it can be, so spending all of our days looking over our shoulders should not take over. If we can strike a balance between a careful, sensible lifestyle in tune with the dangers which must be remembered, and an enjoyable time taking advantage of all the best things on offer in the city, we will all benefit.

So, quake assessment projects are ongoing, and so should your lifestyle assessment. Take a look around your apartment, even your desk at work. Do you know the systems in your office? Now is as good a time as any to get re-acquainted with them!