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Table 1. Progress of the Earthquake Prediction Program in Japan

 

 

Remarkable seismic events

Year

Major topics

Domestic

Overseas

1962

“Prediction of Earthquake” (“Blue Print”)

 

 

1964

 

Niigata (M7.5)

Alaska (M8.4)

 

First Plan (1965–1968): Basic observation networks

 

1965

 

Matsushiro swarms

 

1966

 

 

Tashkent (M5.5)

1968

 

Tokachi-oki (M7.9)

 

 

Second Plan (1969–1973): Practical application and organization

 

1969

Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction

 

 

1970

Area of Intensified Observation and Specified Observation

 

 

1973

Tashkent conference and dilatancy model

Nemuro-oki (M7.4)

 

 

Third Plan (1974–1978): Tokai earthquake, telemetry, and new techniques

 

1974

Geochemical observations

 

 

1975

Kawasaki upheaval

 

Haicheng (M7.3)

1976

Headquarters for Promotion of Earthquake Prediction

 

Tangshan (M7.8)

1977

Earthquake Assessment Committee

 

 

1978

Large-Scale Earthquake Countermeasure Act

Laboratory for Earthquake Chemistry

Izu-Oshima-kinkai (M7.0)

 

 

Fourth Plan (1979–1983): Long- and short-term prediction and basic studies

 

1983

 

Japan Sea (M7.7)

 

 

Fifth Plan (1984–1988): Long- and short-term prediction and basic studies

 

1984

 

W Nagano (M6.8)

 

1986

 

Izu-Oshima eruption

 

 

Sixth Plan (1989–1993): Inland and metropolitan area earthquakes

 

1989

 

Ito-oki eruption

Loma Prieta (M7.1)

1993

 

Kushiro-oki (M8.1)

SW Hokkaido (M7.8)

 

 

Seventh Plan (1994–1998): Seismogenic potential and GPS real-time monitoring

 

1994

 

E Hokkaido (M8.1)

Sanriku (M7.5)

 

1995

 

S Hyogo (M7.2)

 

Responsible organizations are as follows: JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency), NIED (National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention), GSI (Geodetic Survey Institute), UNIV (National Universities, National Astronomical Observatory), GSJ (Geological Survey of Japan), HGD (Hydrographic Department), and CRL (Communication Research Laboratory). GPS, Global Positioning System.

This subject was of urgent importance but had built-in difficulties in the observation of environments in large cities. The January 17, 1995, Kobe earthquake was representative of an inland earthquake occurring in a semi-metropolitan area and resulted in a tremendous disaster far beyond our expectations.

Throughout the previous period, seismic activity in and around the Japanese islands had been rather calm. No destructive earthquake had occurred for 50 years (Fig. 1). Most that did occur since the start of the earthquake prediction plan were in rather isolated areas; the exception was the recent Kobe earthquake, which struck the center of a densely populated area. Under these circumstances, the Seventh Plan started in 1994. In addition to the continuation of basic observations, the concept of the assessment of earthquake potential was incorporated with the plan. The target is large earthquakes occurring along plate boundaries and in inland areas. The intention is to enhance the accuracy of long-term prediction. The concept of “earthquake cycles” is well accepted and supported by a persuasive data set. Historical records, trench study of active faults, and geodetic survey data accumulated over 100 years give clear evidence for repetition of large earthquakes in such areas as along the Nankai trough. Another noteworthy aspect of the Seventh Plan is the disposition of GPS (Global Positioning System) observation sites throughout the Islands. Collection of real-time data from about 300 sites will drastically change the concept of crustal deformation observation in the earthquake prediction program in Japan.

FIG. 1. Locations of destructive earthquakes in and around the Japanese islands since 1948. Most occurred in the sea area.



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