Tokyo's iconic 109 department store designated most likely building to collapse in earthquake
Japan Today -- Apr 12
Since 1979, the Shibuya 109 skyscraper has stood tall, literally, as the epicenter of trendy young women’s fashion in Tokyo. A recent government study, though, considered what would happen if it were the epicenter of an earthquake, and the results weren’t nearly as pretty as the gyaru and one-kei outfits that have been purchased at 109 over the years.

The study examined the stability of 852 buildings in Tokyo, including large structures such as hospitals, schools, and department stores as well as buildings located near major transportation arteries such as high-speed Shinkansen rail tracks and expressways. Were a magnitude-six earthquake (on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale, which differs from the Richter scale and tops out at seven), centered below Tokyo, to strike the capital, 251 of the examined buildings are in danger of collapsing, according to the study.

Out of those 251 buildings, researchers subdivided them into three categories, based on how likely they are to topple in the face of a magnitude-six quake. Thankfully, 250 of the buildings were classified as Type 2 or 3, the less likely to fall. But the one and only building to receive a Type 1 designation, indicating the greatest danger of collapse? Shibuya’s 109.

Were Shibuya 109 to fall, it would cause problems even beyond the danger to the lives of the employees and customers inside its dozens of boutiques. The main tower stands roughly 50 meters tall, and were it to crumble, it would clog the unique triangular intersection the building is located at, blocking emergency response teams from making their way through the neighborhood and also cutting off access to nearby Shibuya Station, one of the Tokyo’s most important transportation hubs.

News source: Japan Today
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