Experts: Huge economic loss from mega-quakes

NHK -- Jun 08
Japanese experts have estimated for the first time the long-term economic damage caused by a possible mega-quake along the Nankai Trough, off the Pacific coast of central and western Japan, or in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The Japan Society of Civil Engineers issued a report on Thursday saying a mega-quake would cut off transportation systems and damage production facilities, which could result in long-term declines in production and income.

The report says in the worst-case scenario a Nankai Trough earthquake would result in economic damage of 12.8 trillion dollars, and a Tokyo mega-quake 7 trillion dollars, over the ensuing 20 years.

The figure for the Nankai Trough earthquake is roughly 14 times the size of the national budget for the current fiscal year, while that for the Tokyo quake is 8 times larger.

The civil engineers society describes this as a national crisis in which people's standard of living would be lowered over a long period.

The report also says long-term damage could be reduced by 30 to 40 percent by making roads, ports and embankments more quake-resistant.

The head of the civil engineers society, Hisakazu Ohishi, said the estimated damage came as a shock. He said if a mega-quake should strike now, the outcome would be unimaginable, and could possibly make Japan one of East Asia's poorest countries.

Ohishi urged the government to make plans for building infrastructure to help reduce the damage. - NHK