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    More questions about quake resistance

    There’s been a lot going on here while I’ve been away from the blog, but some highlights will be especially cheering over the New Year holiday.

    One is that, predictably, increased vigilance spurred by the Hidetsugu Aneha scandal (he was given a five-year sentence this week) has brought some unpleasant things to the surface:

    About 7 percent of new medium-rise apartment complexes are believed to fall below the mandatory quake-resistance strength standard, an infrastructure ministry report showed. Fifteen of 221 buildings checked had a quake-resistance level of less than 0.9 against the benchmark of 1 set under the Building Standards Law, the report released Wednesday showed.

    One of the buildings in question may have a quake-resistance level of only 0.5 or even lower, which means the structure will have to be rebuilt, the report said. Buildings with less than 0.5 quake-resistance strength could collapse in a moderately strong earthquake, while buildings with strengths ranging from 0.5 to 1 can be reinforced to meet the standard, the ministry said.

    Officials said no clear falsifications of structural reports on quake-resistance have been confirmed in the survey. But the findings raised the possibility that many new medium-rise apartment buildings across the nation do not meet the quake-resistance strength standard.

    There are about 7,000 10-story or so condominium buildings that received approval for construction from 2001 through 2005. The ministry randomly picked 389 of them for the survey.

    One comfort here is that it didn’t take the actual collapse of a building to bring on greater scrutiny. (South Korea learned to take a harder line on building code enforcement after the showy Sampoong Department Store in Seoul pancaked, killing five hundred people; subsequent investigations revealed slipshod construction in many other buildings.) One non-comfort is that not even serious scandals such as this one are always sufficient to cause needed change in Japan.

    One Response to “More questions about quake resistance”

    1. Ella says:

      Right on-tihs helped me sort things right out.

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