By Siti Noor Aliza Apandi
28 June 2023
Japan is one of the most industrial leaders in the world, with the most advanced
technologies. Despite the stable country, Japan is no stranger to earthquakes occurrences
because of the country location is along the Pacific Ring of Fire which earthquake and volcanic
eruption frequently happen. The ring is consist with several tectonic plates that can mash and
collide anytime (Chow, 2016). Japan recorded 5000 minor earthquakes annually; most of them
are unnoticeable, with 50 percent of the events are between 3.0 to 3.9 magnitude. However,
more than 150 earthquakes with magnitude higher than five can put the Japanese in jeopardy
(Yvonne, 2020). There is no other country that more prepared to face the earthquake than Japan.
Preparedness is a normal part of Japanese daily life as the earthquake is one of the most
unpredictable events compare to other natural disasters (The Geological Society, 2021). On
11th March 2011, Japan suffered a destructive mega-quake which provoke massive tsunami. The
tsunami covered almost 600 km² along the northwest coastline in Japan. The magnitude-9.0
quake (Figure 1) was the largest recorded earthquake in the history (Zaré & Afrouz, 2012) The Great East Japan Earthquake damage and the following Tohoku Tsunami were highest damage ratio ever
been recorded, where approximately 15,800 deaths, 6100 injured, and 2500 missing, and
220,000 evacuees (Strusińska-Correia, 2017). The great earthquake form by the sudden shifting
of the pacific plates from the stress build-up of the solid rocks and cracks underneath Japan,
which create the massive tremor. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
reported the mega-quake had tilted the world 17 cm on-axis, increased the earth rotation, which
has shorten earth’s day by 1.8 microseconds (Lovett, 2011). Japan has learned from the past
earthquake occurrences and put countermeasures to reduce the earthquake’s impact in the
Planning earthquake resistant construction.
To withstand an earthquake, a building as shown in the Figure 2 is necessary to resist the push forces in a horizontal direction. Clear understanding of the mechanism, is a core in planning and designing an earthquake resistant construction (Sato et al., 2012).
Every phone that purchased in Japan is set the user will receiving the earthquake
warning signal from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), that some natural
disaster on the way. The JMA is first launched on October 1st, 2007, it provides the
service for provision through a media outlet such as TV and radio.
Based on the Figure 2, the Earthquake Early Warning is aimed at mitigating earthquakerelated damage by allowing countermeasures such as promptly slowing down trains, controlling elevators to avoid danger and enabling people to quickly protect themselves various environments (Japan Meterology Agency, 2007).
RTEE and RTS
Japanese divided their warning system into two parts: real-time seismology (RTS) and real-time earthquake engineering (RTEE). RTS and RTEE is different from
one and another, where the RTS is gave the public and first responders information on “rational action after the earthquake has terminated” while RTEE is for immediate
response after the earthquake occurred or earthquake motion arrival (Nakamura & Saita, 2007). Furthermore, RTS is specifically aim for “highly accurate but not immediate information” while RTEE needs an immediate alarm and intervention to avoid the disasters happened for second time.
The Early Detection System (EEDS), shown in figure 3, was the result of the investment toward the fastest early detection warning system in the P-waves. When the GEJE
struck Japan, there were 239 seismometers in the EEDS. The process took 8.6 seconds to provide the warning time (Edwards et al., 2015).
In conclusion, the frequent event of an earthquake in Japan has made Japan the most prepared country for the natural disaster. Based on past experiences, the Japanese sharing their knowledge on how to be prepare and mitigate the earthquake to other parts of the world who have the same situation. On the other hand, there are various ongoing projects regarding improving the technologies on detecting the early warning of the earthquake.
Akimoto, Y., Ikuyo, K., Himoto, K., Hokugo, A., Sugimoto, R., & Tanaka, T. (2007). FIRE
RISK ASSESSMENT OF JAPANESE TRADITIONAL WOODEN DISTRICT BASED
ON PHYSICS-BASED MODEL FOR URBAN FIRE SPREAD. International
Association for Fire Safety Science, 1–14.
Botting, R. (1998). The Impact of Post-Earthquake Fire on the Urban Environment.
Chow, D. (2016). Why Do So Many Earthquakes Strike Japan?
Dayman, L. (2018). 8 Ways Japan Prepares for Earthquakes. Culture Trip.
Delbert, C. (2020). Japan’s Brand New Bullet Train Is Earthquake-Proof. Popular
Disaster Prevention Information. (2015). Simulation of a Major Earthquake.
Edwards, F. L., Goodrich, D. C., Hellweg, M., Strauss, J. A., Eskijian, M., & Jaradat, O.
(2015). Great East Japan Earthquake, JR East Mitigation Successes, and Lessons for
California High-Speed Rail.
Hammer, J. (2011, May). The Great Japan Earthquake of 1923. Smithsonian Magazine.
Hiraoka, S. (2011). The Effects of the Recent Earthquake and Tsunami on Rail and Bus
Operations in Japan. Presentation to the APTA Public Education Embassy Roundtable.
Japan Meterology Agency. (2007). What is an Earthquake Early Warning? (緊急地震速報
(Kinkyu Jishin Sokuho) in Japanese).
Lovett, Ri. A. (2011). Japan Earthquake Shortened Days, Increased Earth’s Wobble.
National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/110316-
Nakamura, Y., & Saita, J. (2007). FREQL and AcCo for a Quick Response to Earthquakes
BT – Earthquake Early Warning Systems (P. Gasparini, G. Manfredi, & J. Zschau (eds.);
pp. 307–324). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-72241-
Otake, T. (2011). Awaji Island quake museum offers shocks and survivors. TheJapan Times.
Plaza home. (2018). Earthquake Resistance of Buildings in Japan. https://www.realestatetokyo.com/news/earthquake-resistance-of-buildings-in-japan/
Reuters. (2017). Japanese towns hold drills for natural disasters, and missiles too.
Sato, H., Nakata, J., Adachi, K., Ikeda, T., Murao, N., Okabe, N., & Nakada, T. (2012).
Earthquake-resistant Design for Architects (Japan Institute of Architects and Japan
Aseismic Safety Organization (ed.); Revised Ed). Takeshi Goto.
Scribner, H. (2020). Japan has a new bullet train that is completely earthquake-proof. Here’s
what that means. DesertNews. https://www.deseret.com/u-s-
Strusińska-Correia, A. (2017). Tsunami mitigation in Japan after the 2011 Tōhoku Tsunami.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 22, 397–411.
The Geological Society. (2021). Earthquakes: prediction, forecasting and mitigation.
https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/earthquake-briefing#:~:text=Why are earthquakes difficult
to,along an existing geological fault.&text=As a result%2C it is,simulations which
predict tectonic events.
The Savvy Team. (2020). Get Prepared: What To Put In Your Earthquake Kit. SAVVY.
Wong, M. H. (2020). Japan debuts new bullet train that can run during an earthquake. CNN.
Xinhua. (2019). Japan holds drill for assumed 7.3-magnitude earthquake on Disaster
Prevention Day. Xinhuanet. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-
Yvonne. (2020). Earthquakes in Japan – Why Are They Common & What to Do When One
Happens. Voyapon. https://voyapon.com/earthquakes-japan/
Zaré, M., & Afrouz, S. G. (2012). Crisis management of tohoku; Japan earthquake and
tsunami, 11 march 2011. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 41(6), 12–20.