Experts warn of high risk of Nankai Trough tsunami

NHK -- Jan 25

A panel of Japanese experts says that over the next 30 years, many people living along the Nankai Trough face a higher chance of experiencing a deadly tsunami than being injured in a traffic accident.

The government's Earthquake Research Committee gave the assessment in a report on Friday.

It's the first estimate of the probability of coastal areas being hit by tsunami following a magnitude 8 to 9 earthquake along the Nankai Trough.

The experts estimate there's a 70 to 80 percent chance the trench in the Pacific off central to western Japan will cause such a mega-quake in the next 30 years.

They estimated that the probability that tsunami of at least three meters would hit reached the highest rank of 26 percent or more in 71 municipalities, mainly in the Shikoku, Kinki and Tokai regions.

A three-meter tsunami is said to be capable of washing away houses.

Committee chief Naoshi Hirata said that in comparison, the chance of suffering an injury in a traffic accident during the same time span is thought to be around 15 percent. He says 26 percent is a high probability and advises people to be prepared.

The committee also estimates that there's a chance of at least 6 percent and below 26 percent that 21 cities and towns, mainly in Kochi and Mie Prefectures, will be hit by tsunami of 10 meters or higher.