Monday, August 10, 2009

7.1 Earthquake in Izu shaked Tokyo. Reminder for the Big One!

Tokyo jolted all along! The quake waved houses and rattled furniture in the capital city at 7:56 p.m. at dinner time. The epicenter of the quake was off the coast of Japan, near the volcanic Izu Islands. On the Japanese scale of measuring earthquakes, central of Tokyo recorded magnitude four. The earthquake hit just before 8:00pm here, shaking buildings in Tokyo for about a minute. The US Geological survey says it was a major earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale.

I have to say it was a terrifying couple of minutes.
Here is my report in French on RTL


A baseball game in Yokohama between the Yokohama Bay Stars and Chunichi Dragons was stopped temporarily by the umpire when the quake struck. Some high-speed bullet trains also were halted, but began running again after the shaking stopped. Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and experts believe Tokyo has a 90 percent chance of being hit by a major quake any time in the future.

In the foreign community, people started chatting on "keitai" (mobile phone) and send emails right after. The French were in a twit about the seism. Motive? The security system through satellite iridium phone set to assist local French citizens did not work, apparently.

I covered the Great Hanshin Earthquake for the French Radio and Television in January 1995, a killer earthquake with a a magnitude 7.2 quake in the western port city of Kobe, 6,400 people died instantly, the figure came to over 10,000 the following year. I remember very well how the French Consulate in Osaka, as said by the Consulate itself, was unable to assist the population under its responsibility, as Kobe French residents clearly had stated. It would require technical improvement instead of barricading behind a wall of bureaucratic poorly convincing apologies.

Sure, if the big one comes, there is nothing that can be done. Just prepare yourself, set an emergency bag and helmet and... plant bamboos, their thick roots might save your compound from collapsing, as the old Japanese proverb tells.