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Essay Example: Hazards in Tokyo, Japan

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Vanderbilt University
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Japan is one of the nations that is usually affected by natural hazards. In fact, the most expensive natural hazards have happened in Japan, costing approximately 180 billion dollars. It is essential to know that the whole country is not often affected by these hazards but specific regions in the country. Many scholars argue that Tokyo city is the 2nd riskiest place in the world for disasters. They argue that Tokyo is vulnerable to all kinds of natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and cyclones. Natural hazards that occurred before affected the economy, social life, and development of Tokyo. Moreover, a lot of people lost their lives due to these disasters. In the world of disasters, Tokyo is ranked sixth for earthquakes, fourth for typhoons, third for the heat wave, and second for a volcanic eruption. In this assignment, we will assess multiple hazards in Tokyo to determine their impacts and their solutions.

Earthquakes in Tokyo

Tokyo is seen as an earthquake zone because of its geographical location. Geographers argue that Tokyo is sitting on a fault line, which is also surrounded by some other two fault lines. This position has led to a series of strong earthquakes which have destroyed the region over the centuries. One of the main components of Tokyos instability is the Philippine Sea which acts as a tectonic plate (Cyranoski, 102). When this tectonic plate pushes the Eurasian continental plate which is the land where Tokyo is built on, pressure piles up and as a result earthquakes and tremors are formed. The most disastrous earthquake to hit Tokyo city occurred in 1923. It was called the Great Kanto, and it caused a lot of destruction in the city and killed over 130,000 people. The incident showed that Tokyo city was not prepared enough to tackle disasters of big scales. From that period, the government of Japan in collaboration with Tokyo authorities have implemented some structural changes that will prepare the city from earthquakes of big magnitude.

How has Tokyo city prepared for earthquakes?

Many researchers from Tokyo are predicting that a big earthquake will likely occur shortly. Therefore they have urged the government and all the other stakeholders involved in earthquake- preparedness to be on a high alert. One of the measures that have been implemented to manage earthquakes is the development of anti-quake infrastructures. For instance, over 80 percent of the buildings in Tokyo have been built to withstand powerful earthquakes (Cyranoski, 104). Moreover, transport systems such as railways also have anti-quake measures. The famous Japanese bullet trains, for example, can apply instant breaks whenever it detects seismic waves. In general, it is evident that through the implementation of better quake alert mechanisms, building codes, and anti-quake measures Tokyo is prepared to address the earthquakes that may emerge.

Typhoons and Heavy Rain in Tokyo

Heavy rains and typhoons are a common occurrence in Tokyo City. In fact, a few months ago Typhoon Lan hit the city injuring at least five people. During the incident, Tokyo authorities issued evacuation advisories and landslide and flood warnings to thousands of people living in the Tokyo area. Moreover, public transportation was paralyzed, and dozens of domestic and international flights in and outside the local airports were canceled. Typhoons in Tokyo usually occurs from August through to October (Takeuchi, 383). Therefore, it is crucial to understand the characteristics and impacts of heavy rains and high winds. Furthermore, massive floods and mudslides often accompany typhoons.

Tokyos preparedness for Typhoons

Since typhoons are seasonal, the Tokyo authorities with the help of a team of experts have developed appropriate measures and safety tips to enable people to stay safe during typhoons. First, they have developed effective information systems which often informs people to find secure places whenever a typhoon is approaching. Moreover, there is an emergency team that is always on standby whenever casualties are reported.

Tsunamis in Tokyo

Tsunamis and Earthquakes are interlinked together. Whenever an earthquake occurs, tsunamis usually follow. Tokyo city especially the Tokyo bay is said to be most susceptible region to a tsunami. The 2011 earthquake which rocked the Tokyo city and Japan, in general, resulted in a Tsunami in Tokyo Bay. It is important to know that the rest of the Tokyo city is secured from most Tsunamis by Tokyo Bay. This is because Tokyo bay is v-shaped therefore it is likely to concentrate the seismic waves just like the way a funnel would do. This process would neutralize the effects of the tsunamis hence affecting the Tokyo bay only. Although there have been a lot of minor earthquakes in Tokyo, none of them have resulted in a tsunami. However, the bad news is that Tokyo city is a seismically active region and is likely to experience bigger earthquakes in future which will contribute to the onset of huge tsunamis. Experts in Tokyo have warned that there are high chances that a powerful earthquake will strike again. Therefore proper measures to counteract earthquakes together with tsunamis should be implemented as early as possible.

How is Tokyo city prepared to deal with Tsunamis?

Tokyo authorities in collaboration with the government of Japan have established safe zones for people who are vulnerable to Tsunamis. These zones will provide shelters for individuals living in low coastal places whenever a tsunami strikes. Furthermore, there is a team that has been created to watch for the developments of tsunamis and consequently provide timely and accurate information about the disaster. This team is always on a high alert since tsunamis are not seasonal and can strike at any period of the year. A tsunami warning is usually issued hours before the disaster strikes to ensure that all people have been relocated to safe zones.

Volcanic eruption in Tokyo

A volcanic eruption is another hazard that is often witnessed in Tokyo city. In fact, a few years ago Scientists were anxious about the volcanic eruption that occurred at Tokyos doorstep consequently spreading ash to some parts of the town. Tokyo city is surrounded by some active volcanoes including Mount Asama, Mount Ontake, Mount Shindake, and Mount Fuji. On September 2014, there was a volcanic eruption in Mount Ontake killing more than sixty people (Shinohara, 50). Furthermore, Tokyo city is located near Mount Asama which is known to be one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. This makes Tokyo city one of the most dangerous places to live during a volcanic eruption. This is because a volcanic eruption leads to falling of rocks and other debris which poses a lot of threat to people living in Tokyo city specifically those who live near these mountains.

Plans to address the impacts of active volcanoes

Since a volcanic eruption can be detected long before it occurs, Tokyo city has a team of experts who regularly monitor any signs of volcanic eruption (Shinohara, 55). Moreover, the government of Japan is planning to relocate people who are living near these mountains to safer places. It is a common fact that a volcanic eruption is a natural hazard and humans can do little to avoid it. So the alternative option is to develop protective measures such as relocating to safer places.

Extreme Weather in Tokyo

It is evident that Tokyo City is prone to adverse weather conditions such as heavy rains, typhoons, snow, and windstorms. In events where such conditions occur it is imperative to safeguard against damage and injury that is caused by flying debris, slippery roads, and strong winds. Adverse weather conditions in Tokyo often cause stoppages and delays in transport systems and develops dangerous driving situations. Although, an occurrence of deep snow is unusual in Tokyo, falls and slips due to frozen roads usually poses a lot of danger to motorists. Most infrastructures and public transportation systems in Tokyo are not adequately prepared for snow. Therefore, in events where snow occurs, transport systems, as well as other activities, can be adversely affected. Dust storms are also another occurrence which may affect the people living in Tokyo city. Although its effects in the city are not adverse like in other areas such as China and Mongolia, dust storms usually appear in Tokyo city resulting in smog. Tokyo city has invested in the meteorological department providing them with intelligent machines in the bid of minimizing the impacts of adverse weather conditions in the City.

Works Cited

Cyranoski, David. Japan gets nationwide warning of earthquakes. News@Nature, Jan. 2007, pp. 101105.,doi:10.1038/news071001-3.

Shinohara, Hiroshi. Volatile flux from subduction zone volcanoes: Insights from a detailed evaluation of the fluxes from volcanoes in Japan. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, vol. 268, 2013, pp. 4663., doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.10.007.

Takeuchi, Yoshiaki. Sciencing Super Typhoons. Hyomen Kagaku, vol. 36, no. 7, 2015, pp. 382384., doi:10.1380/jsssj.36.382.

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