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2013年5月30日 (木)

南海トラフ地震 被害を減じる法整備が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 30, 2013
Legal framework needed to help reduce Nankai quake damage
南海トラフ地震 被害を減じる法整備が急務だ(5月29日付・読売社説)

How can the damage wreaked by a Nankai Trough megaquake, which is forecast to cause up to 320,000 deaths, be reduced? Countermeasures must be quickly taken.

A task force of the government’s Central Disaster Management Council has compiled a final report that lists steps to mitigate damage from this expected giant earthquake.

The Nankai Trough, the focal area of this quake, stretches from waters off Shizuoka Prefecture to the seas off Shikoku and Kyushu. If a temblor more powerful than the Great East Japan Earthquake occurs in this area, tsunami more than 10 meters high will slam into the Pacific Ocean coast. Inland areas are expected to be jolted by shaking that measures 6 or the maximum 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.

The report stressed the importance of “self-help” and “mutual help” in which individuals and communities protect themselves and help each other in a major earthquake. This is because the government’s relief and rescue operations as well as support between local governments will struggle to function smoothly after such a massive disaster.

Considering the assumed devastation from a Nankai Trough megaquake, the report is quite right to raise these points.

If you feel a strong tremor, flee before a tsunami arrives. Homes should be made more earthquake-resistant and fire prevention measures strengthened in densely populated areas. It is also important for communities to stockpile food.

‘Triage’ for evacuees

If such precautions are not taken, a Nankai Trough megaquake could destroy nearly 2.4 million homes and other buildings and injure more than 620,000 people. It is estimated there would be 9.5 million evacuees one week after the quake. There is an obvious shortage of shelters for these people.

The report proposed that triage--the system of sorting and prioritizing people to receive treatment according to the degree of their injuries--be adopted for accommodating evacuees in shelters. The idea is that people will be asked to take shelter at home if their house has suffered only minor damage. We think this is realistic.

However, “public help” will still be essential. The government must steadily promote conventional measures against earthquakes and tsunami, such as the development of disaster management headquarters and seawalls.

All govts have role to play

In addition, it is important to consider how to urge local governments to set up better defenses against major disasters. It is only natural that the report called for establishing a legal framework under which the central and local governments can jointly take such measures.

For example, establishing sufficient tsunami shelters will not be possible through efforts by local governments alone. It will be possible only if the central and local governments draw up a comprehensive plan and secure the necessary financial resources.

A basic bill for strengthening national land that the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito jointly submitted to the Diet will back up these efforts. The ruling and opposition parties should thoroughly discuss the bill.

A law on special measures for large earthquakes has been a pillar of the government’s countermeasures against such a disaster. The government has provided, based on predictions, financial assistance to areas that could be affected by a Tokai earthquake.

However, the report raised doubt over the concept behind the law, saying it is difficult to predict a Nankai Trough megaquake with great accuracy. The report called for reviewing disaster management measures to handle a Nankai Trough megaquake, which includes the Tokai quake.

The government must also promote antiquake measures that are not premised on predictions of where and when they might strike.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 29, 2013)
(2013年5月29日02時07分  読売新聞)


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