How Japan prepared for devastating earthquakes News. Last Minute WORLD, CURRENT headlines and events
The earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan in 2011, as well as disasters in Turkey and Syria last week. The scale of the collective psychological trauma, loss of life and financial collapse brings these two disasters closer together.
An earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm. Shortly thereafter, cameras off the coast of Japan recorded a tsunami that hit the Tohoku region. The earthquake caused an accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
More than 18,400 people died in this triple disaster. Losses of people in Turkey many times exceeded this number.
As people talk about Turkey today, many people wondered if Japan could ever return to its former self. Over the past 11 years, many roads and buildings have been rebuilt in Japan; moreover, with rescue technicians, which are closely watched by the whole world.
Strict earthquake rules
One factor that distinguishes the disaster protection industry in the country is the “kenchikushi”, i.e. licensed architect-engineers. This word actually refers to those who work not only in the field of architectural design and inspection, but also in construction, management, education and other related fields. Kençikuşis can be held liable for building defects within 10 years.
In addition, the country has gradually changed its building laws and created “the safest and most disaster-resistant” building environment in the world with strict earthquake regulations.
That’s why architects and engineers are pushing the boundaries of technology and design to reduce damage.
There are two main stamina levels that engineers work on.
Firstly, it is resistance to small earthquakes, which a building in Japan can survive three or four times in its life. At this level, any damage requiring repair is unacceptable. The building must be designed so well that it can withstand these earthquakes without damage.
The second level is resistance to more rare extreme earthquakes. At the moment, the perfect protection of buildings is no longer the goal. Any damage that does not result in loss of life is acceptable.
To withstand an incredibly destructive earthquake, buildings must absorb as much seismic energy as possible.
Flexibility for buildings with seismic isolation
This happens through the process of seismic isolation, which is an increasingly common system. To counteract movements during an earthquake, structures are laid on a kind of bed or damper, sometimes on blocks as simple as rubber, about 30-50 centimeters thick. These rubber pads support the building wherever its columns go into the foundation.
In this way, buildings get a share of flexibility. This method, which has been used in Japan since the early 1980s, is used in thousands of buildings overseas, including Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Vibration is reduced with dampers
Adaptation of the building foundation is one of the main ways to improve the seismic resistance of buildings. However, depending on the height of the building, dampers, devices placed in structures to reduce mechanical vibration, can also increase durability.
For example, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest TV tower in the world with a height of 634 meters. Opened to the public in 2012, the tower is also a well-known example of Japan’s building efforts in terms of construction.
Skytree has a unique vibration control system. At the center of the tower is a 375-metre-high concrete support column, which is connected to the tower’s outer frame by a series of flexible “dampers”, but is structurally independent of it. The column moves with a delay and reduces the vibration of the entire building by up to 50 percent in an earthquake and up to 30 percent in strong winds.
Since strong winds are the most difficult weather conditions for such tall structures, Skytree is designed as a steel lattice tower that allows winds to easily pass through the cracks.
Various materials are also being tested in new buildings. Some buildings are constructed using a wood and steel lattice designed to improve earthquake resistance. Since wood can withstand compressive forces, it is used with steel.
The use of wood can reduce the environmental impact of construction, and the use of steel can delay collapse in the event of a fire, allowing more time for evacuation.
Predicting with Simulation
Artificial intelligence is also beginning to play a role in safer building design. Typhoon simulation software can currently predict wind loads and speeds two to three days in advance, requiring months of data collection and wind tunnel testing.
Architects can use this data in design elements such as building shape and window glass thickness.
Japan’s practice of minimizing loss and damage in case of a possible earthquake is not limited to construction.
Prior to the 2011 disaster, Japan had a national early warning system similar to the American emergency warning system. This system, called J-Alert, was put into operation in February 2007.
But disseminating disaster information as widely as possible can be difficult. Beyond fixed alert speakers, the increase in smartphone use has made it easier and more complete to receive emergency notifications.
All mobile phones in Japan are equipped with an earthquake warning system that can give users 5 to 10 seconds to find shelter before an earthquake occurs.
Japan is also implementing an integrated disaster preparedness system.
Disaster education is provided in kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools, and universities to protect themselves from natural disasters.
Disaster Prevention Day on September 1 is the date of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, which killed at least 150,000 people, and as a regular event this week, working adults as well as schoolchildren attend evacuation training courses. .
The government has detailed guidance that includes building an emergency kit, such as an earthquake kit, in advance of a natural disaster. To raise people’s awareness of disaster prevention, booklets are distributed to every home with information on what they can do.
Local evacuation centers and emergency complexes are also always on standby.
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