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State ignored predictions 10 years before 3/11 tsunami, says seismologist via The Japan Times

The March 2011 tsunami that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was foreshadowed almost 10 years earlier, but government interference meant the threat was not acted on, seismologist Kunihiko Shimazaki has said.

Shimazaki said a July 2002 prediction by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion stated an earthquake as big as one in 1896 that caused monster tsunami had a 20 percent chance of occurring somewhere near the Japan Trench within 30 years.
[…]
“Compared with earthquakes that occur in active faults once in thousands of years, the probability (of 20 percent in 30 years) is surprisingly high and cannot be ignored,” Shimazaki, who played a central role in drawing up the long-term tsunami prediction and is now professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, said.

However, he said that just before the release of a report on the prediction, the secretariat of the research headquarters added a paragraph stressing the uncertainty of the forecast.

“An official of the Cabinet Office responsible for anti-disaster measures insisted on having a different committee discuss long-term tsunami prediction,” he said. “This was something that had never happened before, and I felt pressure.” He added, “It was puzzling and frightening.”

[…]
Shimazaki, 70, has also served as chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction and acting chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority. At the NRA, he played a major role in the work to create the country’s stricter nuclear plant safety standards based on lessons from the Fukushima No. 1 disaster.

Last July, he appeared in court as a witness for plaintiffs suing the central government and Tepco over the nuclear disaster.

“A lot of people died in the quake and tsunami,” Shimazaki said. “I’m also responsible for failing to reduce the damage.”

Stressing that such a disaster that claimed so many lives must never be repeated, Shimazaki said, “We must find out why it happened, but the causes are not being pursued.”

“The mistakes will be repeated if nothing is done,” he said as he explained why he decided to speak in court.

[…]
Shimazaki, 70, has also served as chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction and acting chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority. At the NRA, he played a major role in the work to create the country’s stricter nuclear plant safety standards based on lessons from the Fukushima No. 1 disaster.

Last July, he appeared in court as a witness for plaintiffs suing the central government and Tepco over the nuclear disaster.

“A lot of people died in the quake and tsunami,” Shimazaki said. “I’m also responsible for failing to reduce the damage.”

Stressing that such a disaster that claimed so many lives must never be repeated, Shimazaki said, “We must find out why it happened, but the causes are not being pursued.”

“The mistakes will be repeated if nothing is done,” he said as he explained why he decided to speak in court.

[…]

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