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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

New ordinance to decide on active fault survey zones

December 20, 2012


New Tokushima ordinance regulates construction of public facilities above active faults




TOKUSHIMA -- An ordinance regulating land use above active fault lines was passed by the prefectural assembly here on Dec. 19, becoming the nation's first such prefectural ordinance.

The move comes as an active fault line called the median tectonic line, which is feared to trigger a major earthquake, lies east to west in northern Tokushima Prefecture.

Under the ordinance, the Tokushima Prefectural Government will designate areas where disasters are anticipated in the event of shifts in active fault lines, and will mandate accurate surveys on such fault locations if public facilities are to be constructed. If an active fault runs right underneath a planned facility, the prefectural government will demand the cancellation of its construction.

It is the first time for a prefectural assembly to pass an ordinance regulating construction above active fault lines, according the Tokushima Prefectural Government.

Earlier this year, the prefectural government surveyed the median tectonic line and announced its rough location over a 60-kilometer stretch. The prefectural government will designate the stretch as a "specified active fault survey zone" -- spanning 40 meters wide -- which will be subject to construction regulations. Prefectural authorities are set to release more detailed areas after conferring with local municipalities home to active fault lines sometime after April next year.

Facilities subject to regulations include schools, hospitals, hotels, movie theaters and storage sites for dangerous materials. The prefectural government will admonish the operator of a planned facility if the latter fails to conduct surveys on active faults, and will publicize the operator's name if it fails to follow the recommendation.

However, the probability of an earthquake occurring along the median tectonic line is extremely low, and the prefectural government will not demand the relocation of existing facilities.

"We would like to guide construction from a long-term perspective so that large-scale facilities will not be constructed above active fault lines," said a prefectural representative.


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