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Japan Projects Alarming Casualties In Possible Nankai Trough Quake

The Japanese government on Wednesday released projections that up to 323,000 people could be killed in a massive earthquake and tsunami that could possibly occur near the Nankai Trough along the country's Pacific coast, Japanese media reported.

The government released detailed damage estimates based on a scenario with a 9-magnitude mega-quake near the trough off central to western Japan. The data is a follow-up to information released in March.

The government set up a panel of experts last year to review preparative measures for any massive quake. The panel estimates that a tsunami of more than 30 meters high could hit parts of Kochi and Shizuoka prefectures and part of Tokyo's Izu Islands. It also estimates that 23 municipalities in eight prefectures could experience a tsunami of 20 meters or higher.

These tsunamis are forecast to flood up to more than 1,000 square kilometers, which is 1.8 times more than the areas inundated by the massive tsunami that devastated Japan's north-east in March 2011.

In the worst case projection, as many as 323,000 people could die in 30 prefectures in regions from Kanto, around Tokyo, to Kyushu in southern Japan. More than 2.38 million homes and other buildings would be either destroyed or razed to ground by tremors, fire or tsunami.

The projection also shows that the casualties could be reduced by up to 80 percent if people evacuate quickly and make use of safe buildings for shelter.

The government estimates that the number of collapsed buildings will probably decrease by about 40 percent if the ratio of anti-quake resistant buildings is increased.

by RTT Staff Writer

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