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2008年5月15日 (木)


(May. 15, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kinki, Chubu must boost quake measures

近畿・中部地震 基幹交通の耐震化が急務だ(5月15日付・読売社説)

If a major earthquake with an epicenter in a populated area strikes the Kinki or Chubu regions, damage to the Shinkansen and other East-West transportation lines will greatly affect the Japanese economy.


Although transportation facilities have been gradually reinforced against earthquakes, they are not yet perfect. Antiseismic measures should be taken more quickly.


A research group comprised of experts at the government's Central Disaster Management Council has released a forecast of infrastructural and economic damage that could result from a possible major quake in the Kinki or Chubu regions.


The Kinki region includes Hyogo, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Osaka, Shiga and Wakayama prefectures, while Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama and Yamanashi prefectures belong to the Chubu region.

If the Uemachi active fault belt running through central Osaka causes a jolt with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale, damage to the economy, transportation, and lifelines such as water, communications and electricity would be 74 trillion yen in the Kinki region, according to the group's report.



The impact to the region would be rather large considering the region's size. If an earthquake of this nature strikes the Tokyo metropolitan area, the estimated damage is predicted to come to 106 trillion yen.


 If such an earthquake takes place in the Kinki region, damage to railway facilities, such as the collapse of elevated tracks and bridges, would likely occur at 60 locations, twice that of the Tokyo area, the report said. Of those 60 spots, 20 are said to be on Shinkansen lines.



Shinkansen threatened


In the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, elevated tracks of the Sanyo Shinkansen line collapsed at eight locations. In the 2004 Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake, a bullet train of the Joetsu Shinkansen line was derailed while running for the first time in the history of Shinkansen operations.



Since that accident, the Construction and Transport Ministry and the Japan Railway companies have formed a joint council to study measures to prevent derailments of Shinkansen superexpress trains. They decided to move up the schedule for an ongoing project to reinforce 68,600 pillars supporting elevated tracks, aiming for completion by the end of fiscal 2008.


move up=日時を繰り上げる)

Between Shin-Osaka and Shin-Kobe stations, 99 percent of elevated tracks, which were damaged by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, have already been reinforced against earthquakes, and 92 percent of elevated tracks in the Chubu region have been given antiseismic workovers. But only 80 percent of such tracks have been enhanced between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto stations. The reinforcement project is proceeding slowly due to delay in negotiations on compensation for business establishments under these elevated tracks.

In the Kinki and Chubu regions, 96 percent to 98 percent of expressways are now earthquake-resistant. In spite of this, large-scale damage, such as the collapse of bridges, is predicted in the report at 20 locations.



workovers=施工完了)(antiseismic workovers=耐震工事施工完了)


High concentration, high cost


Transportation lines severed by an earthquake would force the traffic of 66 million people and distribution of 40 million tons of goods to come to a halt or make detours in the Chubu region. In the Kinki region, it would be 53 million people and 37 million tons.



The loss due to this shutdown in transport would be 3.9 trillion yen in the Chubu region, and more than 3.4 trillion yen in the Kinki region. Damage to the Chubu region is estimated to cost more because it is considered an important transport conduit between east and west Japan.


conduit=ルート、経路)(transport conduit=交通ルート)

Meanwhile, Osaka and other prefectures in the Kinki region have many areas with a high concentration of old buildings. The restoration of damaged buildings, furniture and other household goods is predicted to cost 61 trillion yen there while the estimate for the Tokyo metropolitan area is 67 trillion yen. This high restoration cost is anticipated because the shock of an earthquake in the region is predicted to be more forceful than one hitting the metropolitan area, and due to the concentration of old buildings.


The death toll in the Kinki region was estimated in the past to reach up to 42,000, exceeding the 12,000 deaths to be expected following a major earthquake in the metropolitan area. To reduce this, residential buildings in the region must be reinforced against quakes as soon as possible.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 15, 2008)

20085150131  読売新聞)


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