The Great East Japan Earthquake, with a magnitude of 9.0, was Japan’s largest earthquake recorded in history, causing a massive tsunami of over 10 metres high which wreaked havoc on the Pacific coast of the Tohoku Region.
Despite Tokyo’s distance from the epicenter, not only were there direct damages from the earthquake, but the spread of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant affected Tokyo’s air and tap water, as well as certain food products, raising doubts on the safety of day-to-day living in the metropolis.
A spokesperson for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) told FutureGov that new challenges were brought to light as a result of the recent earthquake, such as unexpected damages, the slowing down of economic activities, and the significant disruption on the citizen’s daily lives due to rolling blackouts that were conducted to avoid large-scale blackouts and power supply shortages.
“While the 10-year plan compiles the priority measures of the TMG that will be implemented in a focused and intensive manner to achieve our vision, the recent earthquake has made us re-think Tokyo’s disaster preparedness. Because of that, we are planning to formulate a new long-term plan for the metropolis, which will enhance and improve upon the current 10-Year Plan.
“The Great East Japan Earthquake has made the shortcomings of Tokyo apparent, and provided us a practical lesson.”
“The TMG will make full use of the lessons learned from the great earthquake to thoroughly review its disaster management measures in order to build a highly disaster-resistant city that is not only
prepared against an earthquake striking directly under the capital, but also against damages triggered by earthquakes with epicenters at a distance from the city, such as the probable Tokai-Tonankai-Nankai earthquake.”
In order to prepare for disasters, the spokesperson cited that there is a need to bolster critical information infrastructure as it is essential in ensuring communication between disaster-response organisations.
“Providing accurate information to the citizens, and allowing the citizens to contact each other to confirm their safety is critical during times of natural disasters,” he said.