Japan finds another gap in its disaster readiness-Mount Fuji
News On Japan via Reuters -- Sep 17
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 metre-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 metres (12,388 feet) and a national symbol that adorns Japanese passports has been silent since 1707.
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(Jiji Press )