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Pavan Arora January 22, 2024 0 Comments

Surviving the Shake: Japan’s Lifesaving Culture of Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquake in Japan

At the start of the new year, Japan recently faced its most powerful earthquake in a century on the Noto Peninsula, yet the death toll remains surprisingly low. This seismic event, which struck on January 1, registered a magnitude of 7.6 and caused widespread damage. Despite the challenges, Japan’s culture of preparedness and strategic measures are proving instrumental in minimizing casualties.

The Seismic Landscape:
Unlike the devastating impact of earthquakes in other regions, Japan has a history of resilience. Drawing comparisons to previous mega-disasters, such as the 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and nuclear meltdown, the death toll in Japan’s recent quake stands at 232 people have been confirmed dead, a testament to the nation’s preparedness.

These seismic events can be devastatingly fatal. When two earthquakes of comparable magnitude struck Turkey and Syria last year, the ensuing disaster claimed a minimum of 56,000 lives. Similarly, in 2010, Haiti experienced a 7.0 magnitude earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, resulting in the tragic loss of up to 300,000 lives. Additionally, in 2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan led to the death of at least 79,000 individuals.

Investing in Infrastructure:
Japan, located on four tectonic plates, faces approximately 1,500 earthquakes annually. To counteract this situation of frequent earthquakes, the country has implemented stringent building codes, investing heavily in earthquake-resistant construction. The approach involves innovative engineering, with buildings designed to sway with the seismic movement and retrofits to enhance the resilience of older structures.

In 2022, a high-speed train experienced a derailment following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. Remarkably, none of the 78 passengers and crew members sustained serious injuries. The train decelerated significantly from its usual speed of up to 186 miles per hour.

Cultural Mindset:
Japan’s earthquake resilience extends beyond infrastructure and wealth. The nation maintains a culture of emergency preparedness, which is evident on Disaster Prevention Day, where citizens engage in comprehensive drills. Community drills are emphasized, promoting social relationships as a critical predictor of survival. The government’s constant communication reinforces the significance of being ready for unforeseen disasters.

Early Warning Systems:
The Japan Meteorological Society’s “Earthquake Early Warning System” (EEWS) is crucial in alerting citizens. Warnings are broadcasted through various channels, providing precious seconds to minutes of preparation time. Tokyo even boasts a radio-equipped vending machine that sounds alarms to park-goers, showcasing the nation’s commitment to leveraging technology for public safety.

Corporate Resilience and Preparedness:
Corporate resilience and preparedness are vital components for organizations to navigate through unforeseen challenges effectively. A prime example of this strategic approach is evident in the global utilization of the EmReach platform. Companies across the world rely on this platform to disseminate critical communications promptly, especially during natural disasters and other pivotal events.

In a noteworthy instance, global customers have leveraged the EmReach platform to reach out to their employees in Japan during the recent earthquake. The EmReach platform served as a crucial tool for organizations to ensure the swift and reliable transmission of essential information to their workforce in the face of adversity. The companies also got essential on-ground information by using two-way communication during the crisis.

Resilient Infrastructure:
Japan’s ability to fortify its infrastructure against earthquakes is notable. Rapid response teams demonstrated efficiency during the 2011 disaster, repairing critical roads within days. Lessons learned from past disasters led to improved water supply infrastructure and strengthened backups for undersea cables, crucial for internet connectivity.

Recognizing the dual threat of earthquakes and tsunamis, Japan has constructed seawalls and implemented early warning systems. Historical knowledge, including stone markers placed by residents to indicate previous tsunami limits, has contributed to saving lives. The comprehensive approach to disaster preparedness showcases Japan’s commitment to safeguarding its population against natural disasters.

Summarising thoughts:
Japan’s success in mitigating the impact of earthquakes results from its multifaceted approach, combining technological advancements, cultural preparedness, and resilient infrastructure. As the Noto Peninsula rebuilds, the world can draw valuable lessons from Japan’s model of resilience and preparedness.