Japanese Earthquake Propaganda

Title: All's Not Well At Tokyo Disneyland After Quake
March 29, 2011
Japan Today

Abstract: Although the visitor parking area at Tokyo Disneyland suffered considerable liquefaction damage due to the March 11 earthquake, the rides and facilities in the park itself appear to have stood up to the temblor without major problems.

J-Cast News (March 24) reports that the huge theme park has in many ways fared better than the surrounding community in Urayasu City, where nearly half the homes in the neighborhood were without running water. Many are also without gas for cooking and heating.

The theme park’s owner, Oriental Land Corp, completed a safety inspection on March 18, and determined that the resort was in condition to “permit reopening.” Its inability to secure a steady supply of electricity, however, remains a major stumbling block, and is the key reason why a reopening date has yet to be set. (The park’s website says the reopening date had not been decided as of noon on Monday, March 28.)

The power needed to operate Disneyland’s attractions, lighting and other facilities comes to approximately 570,000 kilowatt hours per day, a figure equivalent to roughly 10 times that utilized by the Tokyo Dome stadium in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward, or by 50,000 households.

The rolling blackouts scheduled by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) are likely to continue through summer, and this appears likely to impact future park operations. Unlike 21 of Tokyo’s 23 central wards that have so far been exempted from the blackouts, Urayasu City is located in the blackout area designated Group 5.

Another problem for TDL involves park access. The JR Keiyo Line that serves Maihama, the station closest to the park, has reduced the number of trains as a power-saving measure, and the prospect of severe congestion is also likely to impact any plans for reopening the park.

“Since Tokyo Disneyland consumes a large amount of electric power, it may be affected by any power-saving measures,” an official at Urayasu City’s disaster response center told J-Cast. “Presently illumination has been turned off on the Cinderella Castle—the park’s symbol. Our hands are full dealing with recovery tasks right now, but we will be holding discussions with Disneyland’s people to discuss how to get through the Golden Week and the summer holidays.”

Meanwhile, the Mainichi Shimbun (March 26) reported that other leisure facilities around the nation have also been hit hard by the disaster. Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo has been closed since March 17, mainly due to concerns over the power shortages, and postponed the debut of two pandas recently arrived from China that had been scheduled for March 22. The Nikko Edomura theme park in Tochigi has been closed since March 11. It had planned to reopen one week later, but this has been delayed indefinitely.

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama reopened from March 22, but several attractions remained closed due to possible quake damage. Yomiuri Land in the Tokyo suburb of Inagi City has shut down many of its 30 attractions due to their high power consumption. “During the three-day Vernal Equinox holiday weekend (March 19-21), the gate was about one-fourth of what we usually get,” a spokesperson said.

Leisure facilities as far away as Kyushu have also been affected; the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City reported some 11,000 hotel cancellations, mostly from South Korea and other neighboring Asian countries.

A spokesperson for the Fujikyu Highland amusement park in Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture was quoted as saying “Due to gasoline shortages, the general sentiment has been to refrain from going places, and this mood been spreading” (Japan Today, 2011).

Big Quake 'Could Hit Tokyo Within Four Years'
January 23, 2012
Google News

Abstract: Japanese researchers have warned of a 70 percent chance that a magnitude-seven earthquake will strike Tokyo within four years, a report said Monday -- much higher than previous estimates.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's earthquake research institute based the figure on data from the growing number of tremors in the capital since last year's March 11 earthquake off northeast Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

According to the meteorological agency, an average of 1.48 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from three to six have occurred per day in and near Tokyo since March.

That is around five times as many as before the disaster, the researchers said, according to the Yomiuri.

The Japanese government has forecast that the chance of a major quake of magnitude seven or more in the Tokyo region is 70 percent over the next 30 years.

Naoshi Hirata, one of the University of Tokyo researchers, said the results showed that seismic activity had increased in the area around the capital, which was expected to lead to a higher probability of a major quake.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake last year and the resulting tsunami left more than 19,000 people dead or missing and crippled the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear power station, causing meltdowns in some of its reactors.

The last time a "big one" struck Tokyo was in 1923, when the magnitude-7.9 Great Kanto Earthquake claimed more than 100,000 lives, many of them in fires. Previously, in 1855, the Ansei Edo quake also devastated the city.

Japan, located on the tectonic crossroads known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and dotted with volcanoes, is one of the world's most quake-prone countries, with Tokyo lying in one of its most dangerous areas.

The megacity sits on the intersection of three continental plates -- the Eurasian, Pacific and Philippine Sea plates -- which are slowly grinding against each other, building up enormous seismic pressure (Google News, 2012).

Title: Quake Researchers Warn Of Tokyo's 'Big One'
March 5, 2012
Channel News Asia

A year on from one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history, Japanese scientists are warning anew that Tokyo could soon be hit by a quake that will kill thousands and cause untold damage.

Greater Tokyo, home to 35 million tightly packed people, has seen a three-fold increase in tectonic activity since the magnitude 9.0 undersea quake that unleashed a killer tsunami last March.

Every day, an average of nearly 1.5 quakes are recorded in and around the city, one of the most populated places on earth.

But Tokyoites are so used to being shaken in their beds or at their desks that the majority pass almost without comment.

The city is, without doubt, one of the most earthquake-proofed places in the world. Even the monster quake of March 11 last year that struck just 370 kilometres (230 miles) away caused little structural damage.

Public transport was thrown into temporary disarray, leaving thousands stranded, but no buildings collapsed and there were no large-scale casualties.

The University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute says the city, built at the intersection of four tectonic plates, has a 50 percent chance of suffering a major quake -- anything above a magnitude 7.0 -- in the next four years.

"We must prepare for the earthquake that will happen," says Asahiko Taira, executive director of the government's Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

A simulation by the agency suggests that if an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 occurred in the northern part of Tokyo Bay on a weekday evening, around 6,400 people would die, with 160,000 injured.

Approximately 471,000 homes and buildings would be destroyed, most of them by fires, or because of liquefaction, a process where reclaimed land turns to mush.

Around 96 million tonnes of waste would be instantly generated -- four times the total left behind by the tsunami that hit the northeast coast.

Millions of people would be unable to get home and emergency shelters would be over-run. More than one million households would be without water, gas, electricity and telephones for several days.

Economically, the cost would be a colossal $1.45 trillion -- around a third of Japan's GDP.

The impact of a huge quake on the political, economic and cultural centre would be felt nationwide, causing widespread disruption to life throughout the archipelago and beyond, given Japan's influence in global industry.

Japan -- which experiences a fifth of the largest earthquakes on Earth every year -- lost its capital to the power of nature once before, when the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 levelled the city.

That 7.9 magnitude quake and the ensuing fires killed an estimated 142,800 people, according to the US Geological Survey, and left an institutional memory of what it means for a country to be effectively decapitated.

The suggestion of a back-up capital has long been considered. Osaka, 550 kilometres (345 miles) further west, is suggested as an appropriate destination.

So far, the vast costs of establishing government-in-duplicate have put off any serious moves by politicians of any stripe, who are already battling a huge mountain of debt and a sluggish economy.

However, scientists caution, something must be done to mitigate the risk.

"It is extremely difficult to predict exactly when an earthquake will strike, but we can understand what might happen and from there we have to develop strategies to minimize the consequences," said Taira.

But some experts fear Japanese seismologists are so consumed with thinking about Tokyo's "Big One" that they have become blinkered to risks elsewhere.

Expert Robert Geller said that in a country with 54 nuclear reactors, the risk of a large quake striking anywhere in the archipelago should not be ignored in favour of concentrating on Tokyo.

"The government's estimate that the risk in (this area) is greater than elsewhere is based on a flawed methodology and is completely meaningless," Geller, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tokyo, told AFP.

"The incorrectness of this methodology should be obvious, since the same methodology was used by the government before last March 11 to say that the risk in the Tohoku (tsunami-hit) area was very low"
(Channel News Asia, 2012).

Title: Non-Emergency Vehicles To Be Banned On 52 Roads In Event Of Kanto Quake
March 9, 2012
Japan Today

The National Police Agency and the Tokyo metropolitan government have released a plan to avert traffic chaos in the event that a major earthquake hits Tokyo and the Kanto region.

The plan calls for a network of access roads reserved for emergency vehicles in the event of a magnitude 7 earthquake striking the capital. Non-emergency vehicles will be banned from using 1,770 kilometers of road in Tokyo and the 10 prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, Nagano, Shizuoka and Aichi, Fuji TV reported.

Only vehicles belonging to the police, fire department and the Self-Defense Forces will be allowed to use the designated six major highways and 46 other routes.

Experts believe that in the event of an earthquake occurring in or near the capital, reliable access to the most densely populated areas of the city will be essential in the first hours. Access roads for emergency workers will help them to extinguish fires, treat the injured and free people trapped by rubble much faster.

The NPA said the plan is in response to the massive congestion that followed the March 11 earthquake when millions of people in Tokyo were unable to get home. Trains stopped running, while expressways and streets quickly became jampacked.

The routes include those providing access to and from all of Tokyo’s 23 wards and the Tomei Expressway to Gotemba Junction, from Mikkabi Junction to the Okazaki Interchange, the Tohoku Expressway and the Nasu Interchange. It will also include the New Tomei Expressway to Gotemba Junction, and the road from the Chuo Expressway from the Suwa Interchange, among others (Japan Today, 2012).

Title: Tokyo Mega-Quake Would Kill Over 9,000: Simulation
April 18, 2012
Korean Herald

More than 9,600 people would die with nearly 150,000 injured if a mega-quake struck Tokyo, a disaster that would also level large parts of the Japanese capital, a government projection said Wednesday.

The frightening simulation was released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as Japan slowly rebuilds its northeast coast, which was devastated by a magnitude 9.0 quake in March last year that unleashed a deadly tsunami.

The disaster killed some 19,000 people and triggered the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

Tokyo was largely spared from the damage, but if a smaller 7.3-magnitude quake struck the sprawling metropolis it would leave about 9,600 dead and 147,000 people with injuries, including 21,900 seriously, the projection said.

About 5.2 million people would be unable to go home owing to electricity and transportation damage while the temblor would flatten or seriously damage some 378,000 buildings with about 188,000 structures burning to the ground.

A huge tsunami would strike isolated Pacific Ocean islands several hundred kilometres outside Tokyo, which are considered part of the municipality, but was not likely to cause damage or fatalities in the metropolis itself.

The biggest city in earthquake-prone Japan lies at the intersection of four tectonic plates and there is a 50 percent chance it will be struck by a magnitude-7.0 or higher quake in the next four years, according to the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute.

The government projection does not include fatalities and damage in outlying prefectures that make up Greater Tokyo, home to about 35.0 million people.

In 1923, Tokyo and surrounding areas were struck by a 7.9 magnitude quake that left more than 140,000 people dead and destroyed much of the city
(Korean Herald, 2012).

Title: Quake Researchers Warn Of Tokyo's 'Big One'
May 3, 2012
Bangkok Post

A year on from one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history, Japanese scientists are warning anew that Tokyo could soon be hit by a quake that will kill thousands and cause untold damage.

Japanese school children take cover as part of a nationwide earthquake drill at a Tokyo elementary school in September 2011. A year on from one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history, Japanese scientists are warning anew that Tokyo could soon be hit by a quake that will kill thousands and cause untold damage.

Greater Tokyo, home to 35 million tightly packed people, has seen a three-fold increase in tectonic activity since the magnitude 9.0 undersea quake that unleashed a killer tsunami last March (Bangkok Post, 2012).

Title: Gov't Projects 320,000 Deaths In Event Of Earthquake In Nankai Trough
August 30, 2012
Japan Today

The government on Wednesday unveiled a worst case disaster scenario warning that a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Nankai Trough off Japan’s Pacific Coast could kill over 320,000 people, dwarfing last year’s quake-tsunami disaster.

According to the projections released by the Cabinet Office, up to 320,000 people could be killed in 30 prefectures by tsunami generated by a massive earthquake in the trough which stretches for 750 kilometers from Kanto to Kyushu.

The projections were based on a scenario in which a quake strikes at nighttime during the winter with strong winds helping to unleash tsunami up to 34 meters high, sweeping many victims away as they slept.

Many of the estimated 323,000 victims would be drowned by the tsunami, crushed under falling objects or in fires sparked by the disaster, it said.

The highest number of casualties are expected to be in Shizuoka (109,000 projected deaths), followed by Wakayama (35,000), Miyazaki (34,000) and Kochi (25,000). 

However, the report said the number of deaths could be reduced by 80% if evacuations begin within 10 minutes of a tsunami alert. It also called for more evacuation centers on high ground and taller buildings, as well as regular evacuation drills.

At the town of Kuroshio in southwestern Kochi Prefecture, the tsunami could reach 34.4 meters—the highest level projected under the scenario, the Cabinet Office said.

In its previous projection in 2003, the panel gave a worst case scenario in which no areas would be hit by a tsunami of more than 20 meters.

But the panel has upgraded its predictions in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11 last year that sent a tsunami barreling into the northeast, killing some 19,000 people and devastating the coastline.

“As long as we live in Japan, we cannot deny the possibility of a huge earthquake and tsunami,” Masaharu Nakagawa, state minister for disaster management, told reporters Wednesday.

The report was designed to paint a worst-case scenario and help officials boost their disaster preparedness (Japan Today, 2012).

Title: Tokyo Gov't Unveils Measures To Reduce Quake Fatalities
September 13, 2012
Japan Today

The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to revise its emergency guidelines in an attempt to reduce the number of potential fatalities by around 60% in the event of an earthquake occurring directly beneath the the capital.

Government experts in April hypothesized that in a worst case scenario, around 9,600 fatalities could occur in the event of a Tokyo earthquake. They also predicted that up to 30,000 buildings could be completely destroyed by fire or gas explosions and that 8.5 million people would be either stranded or have to evacuate from their homes.

As a result, a government task force has been charged with implementing measures aimed at reducing fatalities by 6,000 and razed buildings by 20,000.

Tokyo city officials said they hope to be able to reduce the number of potential deaths by installing firefighting and fire-prevention equipment in areas densely packed with wooden buildings and by promoting earthquake-resistant structural enhancements to building owners, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The government also aims to ensure that medical care is not disrupted by attempting to earthquake-proof all medical facilities and by ensuring that power plants and water purification plants are also able to withstand powerful earthquakes.

Tokyo aims to have 95% of power and water services repaired and operational within 60 days of an earthquake, a spokesperson said.

Feasibility studies are to continue until November, when the government will make an official announcement on its revisions to existing countermeasure guidelines at a disaster prevention conference (Japan Today, 2012).

Title: Japan Finds Another Gap In Its Disaster Readiness - Mt Fuji
September 15, 2012
Yahoo News

When Toshitsugu Fujii became head of a Japanese task force on disaster response at Mount Fuji, he was confronted with a startling oversight. Japan had no plan in place to deal with a disaster in which an earthquake sparks a volcanic eruption at the country's most famous landmark.

Fujii said a tremor "greatly increases" the chance of an eruption in a country that has experienced nearly 12,000 earthquakes since the magnitude 9.0 tremor that led to disaster on March 11, 2011.

"They always forget about the volcanoes," he said. "The government has never included Mt. Fuji in its earthquake scenarios."

Fujii's job is to change that. More than a year after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown that scarred a generation of Japanese, the government is still working to close the gaps in its disaster response.

Scientists say that the 2011 earthquake may have increased the chances of Mount Fuji erupting. The disaster caused a series of tremors around the mountain, including a magnitude 6.4 quake directly beneath it that caused a 20 meter-long crack in its side and put pressure on the volcano's magma chamber.

The volcano is active and if an eruption was to occur it would potentially threaten a vast area including Tokyo, 100 km (62 miles) away.

Still, Japan's tallest point at 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) and a national symbol that adorns Japanese passports has been silent since 1707.

"Although there are no signs of any irregularities at present, we need to watch it very carefully for another two or three years," said Eisuke Fujita, a senior volcano researcher at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention.

Fujita said there have been many examples of volcanoes erupting following a magnitude 9 earthquake, as in Kamchatka, Chile and Sumatra.

"The government has to prepare for a logistical nightmare," he said. "They've said they are going to do something but they haven't got their act together so far."

Part of the problem is the fractured nature of Japanese bureaucracy, with a division between the teams planning for earthquakes and eruptions.

"We don't include an eruption at Mt. Fuji in our earthquake scenarios because we simply don't know whether a quake would cause one or not," a Cabinet office spokesman told Reuters.

The Cabinet in August set up a task force to draft a disaster response plan based on a hazard map drawn up in 2004.

The map shows the areas likely to be affected by lava flows or an ash cloud and it sets priorities for evacuating the surrounding population.

Fujii, who heads the committee and is both a professor emeritus at Tokyo University and executive director of the Crisis and Environment Management Policy Institute, said the government had so far failed to set up sufficient defenses against even its own worst-case scenario.

Under that scenario, the 2004 map suggests economic damage from an eruption would be 2.5 trillion yen ($32 billion).

But it could be "several times" that, Fujii said.

Shizuoka, a prefecture that borders the mountain, will include for the first time an eruption as part of a revised earthquake contingency plan due to be published next June.

Local communities most at risk have been reluctant to discuss such a scenario in the past, concerned it would impact tourism.

A book published in 1983 wrongfully warning of an imminent eruption was blamed for driving tourists away and causing a $3 million loss in revenues for a prefecture bordering the volcano.

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc, the operator of the Fukushima power plant where the nuclear meltdown happened, described the March 11 disaster as "unforeseeable," despite historical evidence to the contrary.

Critics of the Mount Fuji hazard map say it has omitted several potential consequences of an eruption, ignoring past events.

This includes a partial collapse of the mountain, which could trigger a landslide and an enormous tsunami along Japan's south coast, Masaki Takahashi, professor of geology and volcanology at Nihon University, said.

"Most volcanoes only have one partial collapse in their lifetime, but Fuji has already had two in 20,000 years, meaning it cannot be ruled out as a possibility in the future" (Yahoo News, 2012).

Title: Tokyo Prepares For The 'Big One'
October 29, 2012
Japan Today

Seen from atop the towering Tokyo Skytree, the patchwork of narrow alleyways and ramshackle houses that make up Tokyo’s Sumida district is a picturesque throwback to the Japan of yesteryear.

But this densely packed district—home to about 230,000 people—is one of the Japanese capital’s most at-risk neighborhoods, where officials are busily preparing for the “Big One”, a long-expected monster earthquake that experts say will one day rock the city of 12 million.

“The earthquake will happen,” said Shinishi Sakai, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s quake research institute. “We don’t know when, but it definitely will happen.”

Seismically-active Japan is used to quakes and the threat of tsunami. It has been on heightened watch since the March 2011 disaster, which pounded the nation’s northeastern coast, leaving around 19,000 dead or missing.

While the epicenter was well away from Tokyo, the 9.0 magnitude quake sent powerful tremors through the huge city, a salutary reminder to residents young and old that they are living in a potential disaster area.

“Many people were crying—of course I was afraid,” 10-year-old Tokyo student Shuntaro Kanuka remembers.

Experts have long warned that Tokyo—Japan’s financial, political, economic and social capital—is vulnerable to a massive temblor that will rival the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 100,000 in and around the sprawling megalopolis.

And few in Sumida doubt the destruction that could be unleashed by such a disaster—the district was destroyed during Tokyo’s worst quake as fires ripped through its maze of low-lying wooden homes.

While much of Tokyo’s modern architecture is quake-resistant, the same cannot be said for Sumida with its wood-framed homes and narrow streets that would be nearly impossible for emergency crews to navigate.

To deal with that problem, residents regularly participate in fire drills in the shadow of the newly constructed Tokyo Skytree—the world’s tallest tower at 634 meters.

Worst Case Scenario
The communications tower would play a key role in any future disaster with mobile cameras that monitor the area and could help ease a large-scale evacuation, says Koji Sudo, head of Sumida’s disaster-prevention unit.

“A fire would be immediately detected by the cameras, so it makes evacuation easier and people can be guided to safe zones,” he said.

Inside the tower is a satellite-linked observation center connected to emergency services. Outside, tanks are filled with thousands of tons of water to help quell any blaze.

“We have an autonomous power supply that will last three days and our own radio and phone transmission system,” Sudo said.

Concern about the so-called “Big One” spiked again over the summer when the government unveiled a worst-case disaster scenario that estimated 323,000 people would die if a 9.0 magnitude unleashed a 34-meter tsunami along the coastline south of Tokyo.

City officials said it was intended to encourage improvements in quake warning systems, evacuation planning and disaster reduction.

It coincided with a national earthquake drill, held every year on Sept 1.

Police suspended traffic at some 120 points in central Tokyo to dedicate lanes to emergency and military vehicles while passengers were guided to safe zones from train stations in a simulation of a post-quake scenario.

About 8 billion yen has been spent on fireproofing homes in Sumida, especially the wooden-framed residences, and clearing dead-end streets that would prevent residents from fleeing.

“People want to live and work here. This is why we are working to make the area more resistant to earthquakes and fires,” said Shigemoto Sahara, head of a local residents’ association.

Sahara added that the association has ramped up efforts to keep track of its residents, especially the elderly.

“After March 11, we made a list of old people in the district, especially those living alone. There is a sense of solidarity here,” Sahara said.

As Japan become better prepared for the inevitable disaster, new knowledge also brings new uncertainty.

In the past five years, nearly 300 seismographs have been installed in Tokyo schools at a cost of over 1.0 billion yen, transmitting data to a central authority.

But the plan has also revealed worrying subterranean activity: fault lines far shallower than previously thought.

“It was a great shock to me,” said Sakai at Tokyo’s quake research institute, as he stared as his seismograph-connected laptop. “It’s constantly moving down there” (Japan Today, 2012).

Title: Experts Inspect Japan's Only Working Nuclear Plant Over Fault Line To Determine Fate Of Plant
Date: November 2, 2012
Fox News

Japanese nuclear regulators inspected ground structures at the country's only operating nuclear power plant Friday to examine if an existing fault line is active.

The inspection will determine whether the Ohi plant in western Japan should close. Its No. 3 and No. 4 reactors went back online in July, becoming Japan's only operating reactors after all 50 Japanese reactors went offline for inspection after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

A five-member team, led by regulatory commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki, a seismologist, includes four independent seismologists and fault experts. Among them is Toyo University professor Mitsuhisa Watanabe, who initially brought to attention the question over the F-6 fault where he has found a zone of crushed rocks in bedrocks.

If the fault that cuts across the plant is judged active, Ohi must be closed. Government's safety guidelines ban a nuclear plant directly above an active fault.

Active faults are also thought to be under several other plants across Japan and are under investigation.

"There were things we learned only by coming to the site," Shimazaki told reporters after finishing the inspection. But the team may need another round of inspection to make a decision, he said.

The experts will meet Sunday to discuss their findings and possibly make a verdict.

The closely monitored inspection would be a major first test for the regulators to gain credibility over a safety decisions.

Safety concerns run deep among the public, which largely turned anti-nuclear since the meltdowns in Fukushima. While regulators are stepping up reactor safety standards and emergency plans for nuclear plant host communities, many people remain highly concerned about fault lines running underneath nuclear plants.

The Ohi plant's shattered zone in question won't trigger an earthquake but could move with active faults near the plant's perimeter. If that happens, the movement could damage a water pipe to bring in water to cool reactors in an emergency. The north-south fault cuts between the No. 1-2 reactors and the No. 3-4 pair.

Ohi's operator Kansai Electric Power Co., which had earlier failed to produce a document of the suspected fault despite repeated requests, submitted its preliminary findings of a government-ordered internal investigation that they found no further evidence suggesting an active fault.

Before the on-site inspection, top regulator Tanaka said the two operating reactors would have to be shuttered if the F-6 turns out to be an active fault.

Regulators sought to distance themselves from business or political leaders and promised to make a purely scientific ruling.

"Our decision will not be political, social or economic, but purely based on safety," Tanaka said recently.

He also has modified the definition of an active fault, saying any traces of ground movements as far back as 400,000 years ago should be considered active, more than tripling the current definition.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who faced massive protests after ordering the restart for the two reactors, told reporters that he would abide by any decision by the regulators (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Small Tsunami Waves Hit Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture After Strong Earthquake
Date: December 7, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A strong earthquake struck Friday off the coast of northeastern Japan, triggering small tsunami waves in the same region hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami last year.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The epicenter was 6.2 miles beneath the seabed.

There were no immediate reports of major damage but two people were reportedly injured.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported two aftershocks of of 5.5 and 4.7 magnitudes east of Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi, where a tsunami of 1 meter (1 yard) hit about 40 minutes after the quake struck.

Small tsunami waves were also recorded at the Port of Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture and Kesennuma City in Miyagi, according to Japan's NHK TV.

After the quake, which caused buildings in Tokyo to sway for at least several minutes, authorities issued a warning that a tsunami potentially as high as 2 meters (2.19 yards) could hit.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no risk of a widespread tsunami. About two hours after the quake struck, the tsunami warning was cancelled.

Shortly before the earthquake struck, NHK television broke off regular programming to warn that a strong quake was due to hit. Afterward, the announcer repeatedly urged all near the coast to flee to higher ground.

The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killed or left missing some 19,000 people, devastating much of the coast. All but two of Japan's nuclear plants were shut down for checks after the earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Immediately following Friday's quake, there were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated by Fukushima Dai-Ichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said a TEPCO spokesman, Takeo Iwamoto.

Sirens whooped along the coast as people ran for higher ground, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no risk of a widespread tsunami.

A 75-year-old woman fell and was injured while evacuating to flee from the tsunami, public television broadcaster NHK reported. It said a child was reportedly injured in the Miyagi city of Sendai. Miyagi police said they could not confirm those reports.

More than an hour after the quake struck, an unnamed official from the Meteorological Agency, speaking on national television, continued to warn people to stay away from the coast.

"Please take all precautions. Please stay on higher ground," he said.

The tsunami alert extended from the tip of the main island of Honshu nearly down to Tokyo, though the warning for the area most likely to be hit was only for the Miyagi coast.

All Nippon Airways spokesman Takuya Taniguchi said government officials were checking on the runways at Sendai airport. The two jets that were in the air went to other airports and all seven flights scheduled to go to Sendai for the day were cancelled, he said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Strong Earthquake Hits Japan's Northern Island Of Hokkaido; No Injuries Or Danger Of Tsunami
Date: February 2, 2013
Fox News

Abstract: A strong earthquake has struck Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, but authorities say there is no danger of a tsunami and there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake had a magnitude of 6.4 and hit at 11:17 p.m. (1417 GMT) Saturday in the Tokachi region in southern Hokkaido, at a depth of 120 kilometer (75 miles).

The agency says there is no danger of a tsunami from the quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake's magnitude was 6.9.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK says nearby nuclear power plants, including Tomari and Higashidori, which are currently idled for safety inspections, have reported no abnormalities (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Earthquakes Shake Central Japan
Date: February 25, 2013

Abstract: A magnitude 5.7 earthquake rattled central Japan on Monday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. A second quake -- magnitude 4.6 quake -- struck about 11 minutes later.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said no tsunami alert has been issued.

The quake, which took place at 4:24 p.m. local time, was centered about 143 kilometers (89 miles) north-northwest of Tokyo at a depth of 9.9 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the USGS.

CNN's Tokyo bureau felt a "slight shake" from the temblor (CNN, 2013).

Title: Japan More Than Doubles, To $2.3 Trillion, Estimate Of Possible Damage Of Major Offshore Quake
Date: March 19, 2013
Source: Fox News

Abstract: A government panel has revised sharply upward the estimated damages expected from a quake expected to strike in the Pacific off the coast of central Japan, raising the urgency of disaster preparedness for much of the country's eastern coast.

The Cabinet Office said in a report carried by all major newspapers that the estimate of 220 trillion yen ($2.3 trillion) in damage was based on expectations for a magnitude 9 earthquake striking in the Nankai Trough, which runs from just southwest of Tokyo to the east of the southern island of Kyushu.

A magnitude 9 earthquake struck off the northeastern coast in March 2011, unleashing a massive tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people.

The Cabinet intends to use the higher damage estimate in drawing up disaster preparedness plans (Fox News, 2013).