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Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007

Revised quake plan aims to halve deaths


Staff writer

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Friday revealed the draft of its revised disaster prevention plan, which aims to half the number of deaths projected to hit the capital in a major earthquake.

The revision, to be finalized in May, would be Tokyo's first in four years. It follows the release of a quake damage estimate by the metro government's disaster prevention panel last year. The metro government plans to take action to meet the goal within 10 years.

The panel's scenario assumes Tokyo is hit by a magnitude 7.3 temblor.

Tokyo's goal is to reduce the number of people crushed by collapsed buildings from 3,000 to 1,500 by such measures as increasing the number of quake-proofed houses to 90 percent from 76 percent and quake-proofing all buildings along major thoroughfares, according to the draft.

The draft also recommends steps to cut the number of deaths from quake-caused fires to 1,700 from the current estimates of 3,500, by fire-proofing more houses and designing roads and parks to serve as firebreaks.

The draft estimates that 1 million people will need to evacuate to public shelters after a major quake and calls for speedy recovery of water, gas and electricity so they can return to their homes within a week.

It also calls for better support for local governments and public transport firms so the estimated 11 million people who would be stranded during commuting would be able to get home within four days, at the latest.

The plan also says that, when necessary, the governor of Tokyo will be able to ask for international support, including from U.S. forces in Japan, which took part in a central government-sponsored fire drill for the first time last year.

The draft also said the metro government will improve flood control systems.



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