Friday, January 06, 2012

You Can Never Be Too Sure

One of the outstanding features of the triple disaster of March 11, 2011, was that the scale of the disasters far exceeded any expectations (A double tsunami (E)? Four nuclear power plants blowing up?). The recent interim report of independent fact-finding commission in charge of investigating the Fukushima nuclear disaster mocked the constant repetitions by those with authority over the safety measures at the Fukushima Dai'ichi power station that the events of March 11 were "beyond imagining" (soteigai - J). However, that there have been only five 9.0 seismic events measured in the last century should be reason for cutting the disaster planning folks some slack (not all slack, mind you -- as accounts of the forward thinking and responses of the various branches and levels of government make painfully clear).

So one of the lessons of March 11 seems to be "think beyond what you believe to be the possible."

But there is soteigai, and there is, well, this:

Saitama Pref. to take tsunami countermeasures
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Saitama prefectural government has begun work to include tsunami countermeasures in its regional disaster management plan, it has been learned.

This will be the first attempt by an inland prefecture to prepare for tsunami damage in its disaster preparations.

It is part of a review on possible damage after experts examining the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake said a future tsunami could hit Tokyo Bay and travel up the Arakawa river that runs from Tokyo through Saitama Prefecture. (Link)
OK, so Saitama Prefecture has no coastline, is 20 kilometers upriver from Tokyo Bay and 100 kilometers from the open ocean.


I suppose I should look on the bright side. The prefecture investigating its tsunami preparedness at least is not Yamanashi.


Jan Moren said...

Well, surge floods can travel hundreds of kilometers upriver in extreme cases. It doesn't seem too far-fetched for a nominally land-locked area to at least take a quick look at the possibility given the March disaster.

Even if the answer is "no way", you do want to get that definite answer, not just vaguely assume it can't happen.

Edmund In Tokyo said...

The 3/11 tsunami didn't hit the Arakawa very hard, but even so it got as far as Toda. There's some heavily-populated low-lying Saitama (like the city of Kawaguchi) between that and the sea.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Perhaps the Saitama officials must have treated that mother of all disaster movies "2012" a little too seriously.