Page 1

The Japan Times Special Report

The Great Hanshin Quake EXTRA AH





TheJapan Times Tu~sday.


17, 1995

Killer quake bits Kansai Kobe slammed; deaths top 100, scores buried

The Japan Times,

Extra Edition,

Jan. 17, 1995

First edition: February 1995 Fourth printing: March 1995 Published by The Japan Times, Ltd. 5-4, Shibaura 4-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108, Japan Phone: 03-3453-2013 (Publications Department) Copyright @ 1995 by The Japan Times, Ltd. Ali rights reserved. Publisher: Chief editor: Editorial staff:

Cover designer:

Part of the proceeds from the sale of this magazine will be donated to quake victims through The Japan Times Earthquake Relief Fund.

Toshiaki Ogasawara Junichi Saito Masaru Fujimoto Shirley Yoko Jackson Takashi Kitazume Toru Mizuno Kiichiro Tamagawa David Burnfield

Printed in Japan ISBN4-7890-0773-1


.!JnJan, 17, 1995, thewolStdisasterinposlwar "



- ui"ed neorly 27,000



and 1eft300,OOO homeless








-"'-ot.-- """.""'".........






Chugo/w Expressway





Urbln Shock By MASARU FUJIMOTO Few will ever forget. Not even those who lived elsewhere are likely to forget for decades what happened to Kobe and its surrounding are as at 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1995. No other event in 20th century Japan, save for the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and World War II, claimed so many lives and shattered so many hopes in so few seconds. Here in Japan and around the world, leading broadcasters, newspapers and magazines provided intensive coverage of the predawn quake on Day 1 and in the days that folIowed. Registering magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale, the quake was focused about 20 km under the northern tip of Awaji Island.

20 short seconds changedforever the /iveS of hundreds of thousands in one of the world' s biggest port cities

Even for a nation accustomed to ground movement, situated as it is at the intersection of four tectonic plates, the quake caught the residents of the Kansai region off guard. They had almost forgotten the major temblor of 1946 focused off Wakayama Prefecture that claimed 1,330 lives. The Jan. 17 quake was the first kilIer temblor in modern Japan to strike one of the country's (and the world's) largest port citles. NHK and other television networks aired continuous live aerial views of the burning cities and towns, of colIapsed elevated expressways that authorities had assured would be safe in a temblor of the strength of the Great Kanto Earthquake, and of people crying for help to rem ove the 9

rubble under which their loved ones were buried alive. Those in secure areas who woke up to the otherworldy footage on television tried to cali their relatives and friends in Kansai in a desperate bid to confirm their safety. Chances were slim of getting through, however, since telephone lines were either disrupted or overloaded with domestic and international calIs. Others were glued to their televisions. ln the Kansai region, NHK's viewer ratings hit 50.4 percent at one point on the morning of Jan. 17. More th an 76 percent of the population in Kanto and nearly 80 percent in Kansai watched the nonstop coverage of the quake during prime time between 7 and 10 p.m. that day when alI networks

With mass-transit systems destroyed in the core of Kobe and nearby cities, evacuees and relief workers, the old and the young, walked, pedaled bicycles or rode motorcycles for kilometers and for hours through the havoc to bring whatever they could to the ones they care for. Lifelines were instantly disrupted by the fierce vibrations that lasted a mere 20 seconds, leaving tens of thousands of households that withstood the quake without wĂ ter, power or gas. Despite the hardship, the survivors were patient and orderly. Whenever water trucks arrived or stores reopened to sell whatever they had, people formed orderly, long lines, and there was no obvious lootmg. Hyogo Prefectural Police said 25 burglaries and 242 cases of bicycle and motorcycle thefts were reported during the first nine days of the quake, but no felonies espitethe were filed. The number of burglaries was about one-sixth of that in the same nine hardship, survivors days of 1994. A woman staying in a makeshift shelter were patient and outside her demolished house near the Suorderly. Whenever gawara Shopping Arcade in Kobe's Nagata Ward said she was sharing the relief goods water trucks arrived or she received with her neighbors. "People are so kind to ail of us. We stores reopened, really appreciate the good will of others people formed orderly, now," she said. Even strangers, from the young to the long Unes, and there old, exchanged a few words to encourage each other and to show they care when was no obvious looting carrying water or cIeaning up streets. At a service station in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, that survived the temscattered around some 1,000 locations. blor, young workers asked customers, They had littIe food, no bathing facilities mainly on motorcycles, where they came and no flush toilets. Objects that most had from and whether their families were safe. taken for granted in everyday life suddenly While quake survivors were latching onbecame luxuries. to their own prowess, the national and loLike countless other disasters, the Great cal governments came under harsh attack Hanshin Earthquake has also taught many lessons. lt exposed the wretched fragility of both at home and abroad for what was criticized as benign neglect. highly advanced urban infrastructures. The nation was appalled by Tokyo's lack Through the sacrifice of more than 5,300 of leadership and absence of crisis managelives, the pain of nearly 27,000 others who ment in the initial hours after the quake, were injured and the suffering of those while local governments fell into chaos who lost their homes, the earthquake proved the inadequacies of life-saving ef- with many officiaIs themselves becoming victims. forts: Highways were blocked by rubble Without solid information on the extent and traffic, firefighters were incapacitated by cutoff water pipes; rescue teams had no of the damage, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama first left the quake in the hands equipment to rem ove debris to save those of the National Land Agency, which had buried underneath.

aired special news programs, according to Video Research Ltd. With seconds, minutes and hours passing mercilessly by, the lives of many ended under the debris and in towering flames. Those who survived stood by helplessly. Slow-arriving teams of soldiers and other over-burdened rescuers dug into collapsed houses and apartment buildings onIy to carry out corpses covered in blankets. There were occasion al moments of joy, when they were able to save those who survived long hours of pain and hunger in subfreezing temperatures. The survivors could not afford much time shedding tears over what they had lost. The more than 300,000 people who found themselves without homes were forced to endure life at temporary shelters



no information-gathering network of its own nor authority over other government agencies, including the Self-Defense Forces. Neither the prime minister nor Defense Agency chief Tokuichiro Tamazawa ordered SDF troops to rush to the quake zone even though the law stipulates that such rescuers can be dispatched without a request from prefectural governors. It wasn't until more than 21 hours after the quake that the chief of the Ground Self-Defense Force's rescue operations called up ail available ground troops ta prepare for their missions. The national government also failed ta respond quickly to assistance offers that

Kobe's popular city center of Sannomiya

more than three weeks after the quake

came from nearly 30 countries within three days after the temblor. It initially accepted only relief goods from the United States

carrying a total of more th an 2,000 passengers. Most businesses and factories were empty, and traffic was light on the elevated

and search dogs from Switzerland. Even with the government's blundering, which may have prevented the rescue of more people, and with property damage to 11,000 houses and other structures estimated by Hyogo Prefecture at Y9.5 trillion, the quake was not as bad as it would have been had it struck after ail urban functions were up and running for the day.

Hanshin Expressway's Kobe Line, which runs through the hardest hit areas. So much tragedy and sorrow have drawn

The first bullet trains were to have left Shin-Osaka Station on both the east- and west-bound lines 14 minutes later, possibly


port private relief workers and the Education Ministry to request university authorities to substitute their activities for term examinations. To supplement the shortage of governmental temporary housing, which will total

~verwhelming charity from both home and abroad. Within the first month, more than Y57.3 billion in relief funds for quake victims was raised, the highest am ou nt ever generated for a single disaster. Volunteers, including more than 10,000 students, are ma king long-term commit-

Local small-business owners such as those who operated assembly lines for synthetic shoes, one of Kobe's leading industries but now severely ravaged by the quake and blazes, are staying on gamely to

ments to help the evacuees, prompting the government to consider measures to sup-

make a comeback, starting from scratch just as they did after World War II.


40,000 units, local governments and host families have offered accommodations.




Reporter Akemi Nakamura witnesses chaos and despair as she makes her way from Osaka ta Kobe on Day 1

The Road ID Kobe

ceramic decoration on the television set By AKEMI NAKAMURA 1sensed a strange tranquil1ityin the usu- having crashed enta the floor. It was much later that 1 realized the ally bustling Yodoyabashi business district of Osaka when 1 got out of a crowded temblor had slipped what used to be the Keihan train on the morning of Jan. 17. posh Hanshin area back into a cityscape Show windows at a Mizuno sporting reminiscent of 1945. Stepping into The Japan Times Osaka goods store were broken, and the debris of building walls was scattered about the Bureau on the third floor of a business streets. A few office workers were heading complex near the Tosabori l-Chome interfor their offices by foot as most train and section in Nishi Ward, 1found ail the desk drawers open with newspapers and news subway systems here were disrupted. Earlier that morning, 1 awoke with the releases scattered about the floor. After calling my editor at our Tokyo first bang of the 20-second-Iongfierce temblor at my apartment in Neyagawa, about head office shortly before 10a.m., 1was on 25 km from Osaka toward Kyoto.l reacted my way to Kobe in a taxi. Traffic on National Route 21inking Osato the thought that my life would be in danger, but immediately realized that 1was ka with Kobe was completely backed up. It safe with only minor damage to my apart- took nearly three hours to travel from Osament - a minor fallen from a wall and a ka to the other side of the Muko River on 12

the border of Amagasaki and Nishinomiya, both in Hyogo Prefecture. The trip usually takes no more than one hour. It was already 1 p.m. when 1decided to get out of the taxi at Kamikoshien, not far from the river. Along the national highway, 1 saw a landscape 1 had never seen before - flattened wooden houses, demolished buildings, tilting utility poles with jammed wires, derailed trains, smoke and cracked pavement with liquefied gray soil emerging from the cracks. Burning smells also fil1ed the air. Crossing a damaged bridge over the Shukugawa River, 1 met an old man wrapped in a blanket who was warming himself up with a stove. Looking at about 10 collapsed houses, 1 asked him if he

what time it was.



would answer some questions. no with his head.

He shook

"1 had to get out of the second floor window," said Shuzo Kakitani, whose house withstood the quake, which registered the maximum 7 on the Japanese intensity scale. "We pulled out a woman in my neighborhood and took her to a hospital. But she died. More people are still under these houses," he said. About eight hours had passed since the temblor, and no rescue had arrived. "1 went to my company in Nada Ward (in Kobe), but couldn't go in. Now we are cleaning up inside the house so that my neighbors can spend tonight together," he said. As 1 walked into Kobe along the route, the cityscape turned increasingly catastrophic, and lines outside phone booths became longer with frustrated


Because 1 had !eft my watch at home that morning, 1 asked a young woman in a 2meter-Iong queue in front of a pay phone

was OK. 1 went to the vet in Nishinomiya

"1 couldn't bring where 1 work. Some pets fled. My parents my watch. My went to see their company in Kitano (Chuo apartment was Ward, Kobe)," Megumi Matsumoto, a destroyed. So l'm veterinarian worker, said. taking shelter at a 1 thanked her for the ride and got off at a kindergarten," she point about 4 km from Sannomiya. To resaid. ''l'm calling port on what 1 had seen to the Tokyo ofmy parents to tell fice, 1 ran the distance to Kobe City Hall in them l'm ail right. darkness, guided only by headiights from Don't worry about cars and trucks jammed on National Route my phone calI. It 2 and bonfires in parks. won't be long." It was around 7 p.m. when 1 reached the A 62-year-old 30-story Kobe City Hall, where power was man said he would being supplied by an emergency generator. go back to the re- A hundred evacuees had taken shelter in mains of his house the lobby. to retrieve some beOn the eighth floor, city officiais and longings. "(When some reporters were working in a conferthe quake oc- ence room bustling with tension, and 1 felt curred) 1 was safe in the familiar scene of bright fluorestrapped in debris cent lights and ringing tt;lephones. and cried for help A blurred television in the room reportfor about 10 mined that 1,042 people were confirmed dead utes, but nobody and 577 missing at one point, and the city's came. So 1 kicked a task force for the quake reported 77,700 wall and got out of evacuees were staying at 318 temporary the house with my shelters in Kobe. injured wife. Two These figures continued to rise. couples living next 1 spent the night with a little cold food to my house died," and no water. 1 filed handwritten stories by Masaharu Arimufax. The morning after the quake,the city's ra, a security company employee, said. central Sannomiya district was quiet, and "1 haven't eaten anything since this roads and buildings were covered with rubmorning. No information came to us," he ble and dust. said. Two days later, 1 took a ferry from a Across the street from Arimura's house, damaged pier in Meriken Park to Kansai local construction workers used a crane to International Airport so 1 could take a pull out the body of a boy from a house that train back to Osaka. On the ferry, my travno longer had a first floor. His mother eling companions on the voyage were an tightly held the small corpse wrapped in a Indian businessman with his family who blanket, crying the boy's name over and was trying to go abroad for a while, an over again, while the instant rescue team American couple who visited their cousin moved to another location. in Kobe from Alaska two days before the Twilight was falling on the devastated quake, two other Americans teaching Engarea, and the January co!d was getting se- lish who were heading for Osaka to visit vere. Families carrying bagsand backpacks their friend and 100 other foreigners and and a group of young women pulling color- Japanese. fuI ski bags on casters were heading in the Takinga Rapi:t limitedexpressto get to direction of Kobe or Osaka. Bicycles and the heart of Osaka, 1 sat next to a young minibikes weaved through them. Some womanfrom Kobe. "1 felt guilty for leavfamilies used cardboard and plastic sheets ing Kobe. My neighbors 1 had hardly to set up temporary shelters at a parking talked to (before the quake) were very nice lot. to me, sharing their food," she said. At around 4 p.m., 1 hitchhiked a ride "Ifs strange now to see a city like this from a compact Audi in Higashi-Nada (Osaka). It looks like nothing ever hapWard. "My house in Rokko (Nada Ward) pened, in Osaka," she said. 13


Kobe' s locally fostered businesses

in Buins

suffer heaviest blow since World War II, but many vow to rebuild from scratch, regardless of how long it takes

By TETSUSHI KAJlMOTO Rubble and gutted buildings stretch south of JR Shin-Nagata Station in Nagata Ward, Kobe, one of the most devastated areas from the Jan. 17. earthquake More than 1,600 manufacturers of synthetic shoes and their affiliates were clustered in the densely populated area, which, before the quake, accounted for nearly 10 percent of the nation's general shoe market. At more than Y80 billion in annual output, it was one of the city's largest industries. But nearly 90 percent of these businesses were destroyed by the quake and subse-



a sake



quent fires, and the industry suffered damage estimated at a minimum of Y350 billion, a spokesman for the Japan Chemical Shoes Association said. "This will definitely affect the industry nationwide," he said, noting that the area accommodated about 80 percent of the country's entire manufacturers of such shoes and more than 70 percent of the shipments nationwide. "A number of wholesale dealers and retailers throughout the country handling (synthetic) shoes may have to give up the business because of the destruction," he said. Among many other Kobe specialties,


synthetic shoes had their origins here in the early 1950s. The shoes are made from synthetic fiber, resin, leather and rubber - a design that replaced traditional rubber-soled cIoth footgear shortly after World War Il. Kobe was chosen as an ideal location for the industry, with its port for importing raw rubber materials and exporting the finished products, a city officiai said. The area's industry had its heyday in the early 1990s, due to govemment measures to boost domestic demand a few years earlier, producing about 50 million pairs annually, worth more than Y85 billion. "lt took decades to get to where we were. 1 have no idea when we can rebuild the industry," the spokesman said. Although the association's office on the top fIoor of a five-story building is one of the few complexes that survived the quake in the are a south of JR Shin-Nagata Station, the office was heavily damaged, with some of its windows broken and interior walls tom apart. Notices urging employees to make known their whereabouts and condition were everywhere in the rubble of the devastated business complex. One asked, "Is everybody OK?" Another said, "Please contact your boss at this, number." "Most of the workers of companies around here lived in this area. Many of them haven't shown up for work since the quake, because they are busy taking care of their families and their houses," said Kosuke Miki, chairman of the Kobe Shoes CircIe Cooperative Association. David Shoes Co., which makes women's footwear, said its facilities were bumed


down in the disaster. The company's employees, who nuinber about 20, were confirmed safe, but some took refuge in Osaka and other areas, said Nobutaka Maeda, an employee. "Fortunately, we managed to get in touch with aIl our colleagues," Maeda said. The company, with annual sales of more than Y300 million, does business with wholesalers and retailors in the Kanto region, he said. AIl the other neighboring manufacturers were of a similar scale as David Shoes, and "some may give up the business soon," Maeda said, adding, "That will trigger bankruptcy to their affiliates in a chain reaction nationwide." Maeda said his company president has applied for financial relief the government decided to grant to sm aIl and medium-size business owners whose companies have been damaged by the quake. Another manufacturer in the area said its production facilities were totally destroyed and thousands of shoes in its stock were no longer of any use. On the other side of the city, officiaIs in the sake industry rated the quake as the second-worst event in Kobe's 300-year sake-making history. Only World War II was more destructive, they said. Kobe's brewers' products make up about one-third of the country's output. "Damage to the industry was immeasurable. AIl the traditional wooden plants collapsed, and some of the reinforced concrete buildings were severely damaged," said Kazuhiro Misato, general manager of Nada Gogo Sake Brewer's Association. The Nada Gogo sake district stretches over Kobe's Higashi-Nada and Nada wards and Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Fifty breweries, many of which were wooden structures, had lined National Route 43. Now the cityscape has changed dramaticaIly, with many Jactories Iying flattened and the nearby expressway devastated. The area was filled with the reek of alcohol shortly after the temblor. "Ifs just as you see," said a worker at local brewer Daikoku Masamune, pointing to flattened company storehouses. The company lost aIl its storehouses, which were spread over a few blocks, in the disaster, except for one reinforced con-


over downtown 15

Kobe on Day 1 KYODO




crete factory and its nearby head office. "Almost ail the facilities are gone. We, the workers, are totally at a loss, since our lives have been heavily dependent on the industry," said a middle-aged seasonal em-

Dock facilities



ployee who also works as a farmer in the Tajima area of northern Hyogo Prefecture from spring through fall. "1 hope the national government will offer some relief measures in case we are unemployed," he said. Another brewer, Kyoto-based Takara Shuzo, said it suffered an estimated YI billion in damage to its plant in Nada Ward. " lt (the quake) happened at the most important time for us brewers," Misato said. Sake brewing in the area is usually in full swing between November and March, as sake c ferments weil when exposed to the cold northern wind blowing from the Rokko Mountains, he said. Of the 50 brewers in the area about 40 are sm ail companies like Oaikoku Masa16

mune, which brew in the traditional waymaking most of their sake in wood buildings in winter. An executive director at Fukuju, a local brewer, said about a quarter of the annual production from small brewers would be lost if their plants remained idle. He said it would take enormous efforts for small companies to cover losses caused by the cIosure of their breweries, because even if they manage to rebuild their facilities, they can only make up for the loss in winter. About 10 major companies, on the other hand, can make up for their lasses fairly quickly, he said, since they can brew sake in other seasons, using air conditioning. However, things do not seem rosy ev en for the big brewers. Although the major firms' modern reinforced concrete buildings do not seem to have been damaged, some high-technology equipment may have been destroyed, Misato said. "We cannot say anything definite until we conduct test runs on the production lines," sa id a spokesman for Hakutsuru, a major brewer. "Like everybody else, we're dying for water," said a spokesman for another major brewer, Kikumasamune. Although the brewer suffered only minor damage to its facilities, none of the finished sake products could be bottled until water was available, he said.

im1 ;Mi

"We have been making sake here for centuries. We rebuilt the industry from scratch after World War Il, which left the area destroyed," he said. "No matter how long it takes, we'll make it happen again."

Water plays a vital role in sake production. It is used in preparing ingredients for the brewing, diluting raw materials and rinsing bottles. As for the outlook for recovery, Misato


said, "There's no time for us to think about future prospects at this stage." However, he had no doubts that the industry would get back on its feet at some point.

Kobe harbor, once one of the world' s largest cargo ports, fears permanent loss of customers

By SACHIKO HIRAO The Great Hanshin Earthquake on Jan. 17 deprived Kobe of its key role in international cargo trade, stirring fears that it will eventually be erased from the world cargo map. Hit particularly hard were Kobe Port's container facilities, including gantry cranes to load containers and rail tracks to move the tall cranes, and ail 35 of its container berths. "None of the container berths are usable right now. We are checking the condition of the facilities and will start repairing those berths that were lightly damaged," said an officiai of the municipal port authority, which manages the 150-berth port area. Kobe Port, which handles mostly finished and partially finished products, is the country's largest container port, moving about 2.5 million containers a year. Now, time and reconstruction costs pose

a major barrier to restoring the port to its position as an international cargo center. One week after the quake, the Hyogo Prefectural Government announced that it would cost an estimated VIA trillion to restore the port facilities. But total costs including loss of business are "uncountable," the municipal officiai said. "We want to reopen as soon as possible. Maritime transport companies have switched to other ports such as Osaka and Yokohama. Once a new route for cargo distribution is established, attracting customers back to the old TOute is difficult," the officiai said. Ranked as the sixth largest cargo port in the world, Kobe handled about 40 million tons of international container cargo in 1993, with sea links to about 500 ports in 135 countries, according to municipal port authorities. Nippon Yusen K.K., a leading shipper that uses two container berths on Rokko




at Kobe



Island in Higashi-Nada Ward, stopped ail shipping operations in Kobe after the quake, except for transporting stock in storage using land transport, said a spokesman for the company's Kobe branch. The feet of five gantry cran es used by the company were damaged, and the berth has a 20-meter-long crevasse that is now filled with sea water. the spokesman said. "We are waiting for information from the authorities on how they will restore the facilities. We have divided shipments to other ports in Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo. But traffic at Kobe wasfar greater th an at Osaka Port. We have no plans for new ships coming in," he said. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. used Kobe Port to export appliance parts to its factories abroad but is now sending the shipments through ports in Hakata, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo, a company spokesman said. "We would hate to think the quake has ended Kobe's 130-year tradition as an international port," the municipal officiais said.

Earthquake evacuees reflect an their fate as they struggle ta cape with the disaster' s aftermath

Surviuors By KENZO MORIGUCHI and CAMERON HA Y Some remember the earth jumping up and down like a great piston. Others liken the experience to being on a ship tossed in a storm. One woman recalls grasping frantically for a flashlight just feet away but being unable to ". grab it. . As people caught in the tragic earthquake begin to rebuild their lives, memories of the past fuel fears of the future. Sachiko y oshida, 71, woke up about 20 minutes before the quake, but went back to bed. A lucky break. "If 1 had gotten out of bed, 1 would have turned on the kerosene stove and that would have set the house on fire," she says. Her two-floor wooden home in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, now Homeless woman leans precariously and about two-thirds of its roof tiles have slid off. But at least it is standing, she said. When the quake struck, Yoshida, who lives with her daughter, was on the first floor. She covered herself with a futon before a wardrobe and a household Buddhist altar crashed down on her. Her daughter came down with a flashlight and helped pull things off her, then the two escaped outside wearing only their coats. Ryozaburo and Kazuko Shiga lost their two-story house in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefec-

ture, but say they are happy to be alive. The night before the quake, their son, who lives in Tokyo, happened to stay at their house. So Ryozaburo, 77, a music college professor, and Kazuko, 73, hoping to get an earlier start in the morning, slept in a dif-



and girl KYODO ferent room than their first-floor bedroom. If they had slept in their regular bedroom, a grand piano right on the floor above would have smashed through and crushed them, Kazuko says. Their second son, who lives nearby, rushed to find his parents shortly after the quake. At first he feared they were dead. As he and neighbors tried to locate them in the debris, Kazuko kept hitting the keys of another piano near her. About an hour later, she and her hus18

band managed to crawl out of the demolished house. They moved to lwakuni Elementary School. The couple were unable to retrieve anything from their house, because it was too dangerous to enter. Kazuko was annoyed at the sheIter because they had few changes of cIothes. "My husband has no suit or shoes to wear - not a single one. For me, a woman, 1 don't want to wear the same cIothes for too long," she says. "1 never imagined such a terrible thing could happen to us at this age. We have to start from scratch again, and we cannot waste anything. We have to live together, helping each other for the rest of our lives," she says. Taihei Matsumoto, 22, a senior at an Osaka university, took refuge with his family at Konan EIementary School in Kobe's HigashiNada Ward. When the quake hit, he ducked under his futon as a ward robe fell on top of him. He did not realize how big the quake was until he saw the house from outside. The second floor, where he had been sleeping, had slid sideways and crashed onto part of the first floor where his parents and sister were sleeping. His sister managed to escape injury because the spot where she was sleeping was in a space between the ceiling and the corner of a desk.


After Matsumoto got out of the house, he and his neighbors got busy digging peo-

pIeout of collapsed homes. Despite their efforts, some neighbors rubble.

died under the

"1 don't have many complaints about the assistance provided by authorities from Day 2. But 1 wish there had been more people helping those buried under the debris on the first day," he says. Bernard Mendonca, a Portuguese-Japanese, remembers Iying half awake in his Nishinomiya house when the earthquake struck. "For some reason, my wife and 1 couldn't sleep so weil that night. Maybe it was some kind of premonition. Normally there are sm ail preshocks before earthquakes in Japan, but this one struck so suddenly. Before we knew it, everything was destroyed," Mendonca says. After he located his two children in the

Fire victim



pitch dark of their house's second floor, the family made its way to the stairway. Now they \ive in Umeda, Osaka, at one of Mendonca's two language school offices. He planned to move back to a new apartment in Nishinomiya so his daughter

Nat ail of Kobe' s residents can came ta terms


with the disaster that has befallen them

By MASARU FUJIMOTO Life has been cruel to Chiyo Umeda. At 73, she is alone. A stairway landing in a Hyogo High School building is her home for now and the indefinite future. She no longer owns anything except her late husband's "ihai," or Buddhist me morial tablet, which she cherishes and keeps in a plastic bag. The Great Hanshin Earthquake flattened her wooden house. She crawled out of the rubble near the school in Kobe's Nagata Ward, where the temblor and subsequent blazes killed at least 617 people and razed 3,670 houses, apartment buildings, shops and factories in a nearly 440,000-sq.-meter area. Provisions and water are now plentiful at the school, which is serving as a temporary shelter for about 3,000 evacuees from the neighborhood. But Umeda said she has not eaten much since the quake. "l'm not hungry," she said, sitting on her blanket.

Her only sister, who had lived alone near Umeda's house, was killed in the quake. "1 dreamed of her the night before (the quake). She might have wanted to tell me something. " Before moving to Kobe about 25 years ago, she and her husband \ived in Hiroshima. She recalled how 50 years ago she had to run from other fires, those triggered by the atomic bomb. "Nothing's been good to me," she said. "1 don't even know how man y days l've been here now." 1t has been a week. Some owners of shops in a Nagata Ward arcade have returned to the site of their businesses to check if any merchandise is salvageable, while workers at sm ail factories that escaped the fires are clearing debris from streets. Locals who refuse to stay at designated shelters are cooking food under blue plastic tarps made into lean-tos outside the rubble of their homes. An elderly woman under a lean-to propped up by boards gathered from the


and son can return to their elementary school and kindergarten when they open. "1 think it's better for the kids to talk about this and work it out with their friends - to be a part of the readjustment effort," Mendonca says.

debris said she takes turns with her neighbors keeping a vigil on their property. "We don't want anyone to steal our firewood," she said, warming her hands over a makeshift stove. She said her group sleeps on a bed made from three stools. Others sleep in their cars, turning on the engine occasionally to keep warm. Despite the constant fear of a major aftershock, many evacuees have started returning to homes on the verge of collapse to retrieve valuables or other items, risking their \ives in the process. Cleanup efforts in the Hanshin area are in full swing. Shovel cranes are busy tearing down half-demolished buildings and collapsed sections of once-elevated highways while bulldozers push debris into, in man y cases, pungent piles. Uti\ity workers are removing poles that block streets and clearing away jumbled wires. "As we learn more about the damage, we are realizing it is beyond imagination," Kobe Mayor Kazutoshi Sasayama told reporters. Many believe it will take years or even decades to restore the city to the way it was only seven days ago. (Jan. 25)

Foreiuners bit bard By AKEMI NAKAMURA and CAMERON HA Y The Great Hanshin Earthquake has shaken foreign communities that have endured in Kobe and nearby cities for decades, leaving more than 200 dead among 77 ,000 businesspeople, students and their families from about 100 countries. Especially for Kobe, foreign communities have been an integral part of its modern history since the port city was opened to foreign trade in the mid-18th century. An estimated 100,000 foreigners were registered as living in Hyogo Prefecture before the quake. Kobe alone accounted for about 45,000, according to the prefectural government. The exact figure of non-Japanese killed in the quake was not immediately confirmed, because "it is hardly possible to accurately sort out foreigners from the toll list released by police," a prefectural officiaI said, adding that the list puts names only in kanji and katakana. The prefectural government estima tes that at least 235 foreigners were killed. Many say such figures do not tell the whole story because they apparently fail to incIude "illegal" status foreigners who, without proper registration, do not officially exist in Japan. The Korean community, the largest group of foreigners in the area, comprising about 54,000 South and North Korean nationals, had lost about 150 people as of the end of January. Many of the deceased lived in Nagata Ward, which was home to 15,000 Koreans, according to the Hyogo Domestic Office of Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), a pro-Seoul organization. The area had severe fires during the first few days after the quake. Ali 200 South Korean students survived but a student's wife was killed, according to South Korea's consulate in Kobe.

Kobe' s long-established foreign community is also devastated, suffering more than 230 deaths lapse or severe damage to their homes, Three weeks after the quake, about 1,700 Korean families were staying at temaccording to consulate officiaIs. porary shelters, and others went to relaAs of early February, some foreigners who work for companies in Osaka were tives' homes in Hyogo and Osaka prefectures, according to the Hyogo Prefectural staying at hotels and looking for apartHeadquarters of the pro-Pyongyang Genments there, while many residents who eral Association of Korean Residents in used to work in Kobe returned to their Japan (Chongryun). home countries, went abroad or were Fifty Chinese residents, including Il stustaying at friends' houses in Japan, they dents, two of their family members, and said. one researcher were confirmed dead, acMost of about 750 Vietnamese residents cording to Kobe Overseas Chinese Associin Kobe were staying at temporary shelters, while about 50 went to Himeji, the ation and People's Republic of China consulate in Osaka. second-Iargest Vietnamese community afAbout 12,000 Chinese residents live in ter Kobe. About 600 Vietnamese live in Nagata Ward alone. the Hanshin area. By.the middle of the second week after the quake, some restauAlthough there were no confirmed Vietrants in Kobe's popular Chinatown began namese deaths, one man was reported in to reopen for business. On Jan. 31, the serious condition after a bicycle accident. Chinatown residents held a scaledown version of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. Two Americans were confirmed dead, and four were severely injured, according to the Osaka American Center. Some of the 1,500 American residents have left for Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo or Southeast Asian countries. Among the estimated 2,000 foreigners trom Canada, Australia and European nations in the area, one Australian man was confirmed dead. Some reported col- Volunteer efforts KIMIO IDA 20

Seven Brazilians and one Peruvian resident here were killed by the quake. About 1,500 Brazilians and 350 Peruvians, most with Japanese ancestry, have worked for factories in Hanshin district for several years. Some 40 Brazilians who feared aftershocks left for their country, according to the Association of Japan-Brazil, a local group nurturing friendship between the two nations. Three deaths were reported in the Filipino community in Kobe, according to the Philippine consulate. No one was injured seriously, and many have already returned to Kobe. The earthquake cIaimed no victims from Hyogo Prefecture's international schools, but the future of some of the schools were thrown into question as some foreign residents opted to return to their home countries. George Gibbons, headmaster of St. Michael's International School in Chuo Ward, said it would be "touch and go" whether the schoolsurvives as an institu-


cali home

tion in the long term. According to Gibbons, many of the school's 115 students moved to Osaka or returned to their home countries after the quake. "The school will definitely be very seriously affected financially. It ail depends on how many students corne back," Gibbons said. The institution's language school, which has about 200 students, faces a similar situation, he said. Others meanwhile appear more optimistic despite lingering inconveniences. The German School in Nada Ward opened Jan. 26, although cIass hours were changed because of heavy traffic. The Canadian Academy on Rokko Island in Higashi-Nada Ward was holding ail its classes, although only about 340 of its 750 students were attending. The school day was shortened to between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. because of the extra commuting time caused by heavy traffic and the lack of rail services. The school expects nearly ail students back in the long term, but is unsure how


many of the 15 staff members still away will return. "We are trying to be very positive" said Tami Mizushima, the headmaster's secretary.

Elhnic media lends a band By YOKO HANI Representatives of the ethnic media in Tokyo joined hands to fill an information vacuum that has robbed non-Japanese earthquake survivors of chances to get aid and services, and to provide moral support to minority groups in the devastated areas. Nine newspapers and magazines in seven languages, including Chinese, Thai, Portuguese and Korean, formed a relief group for foreigners immediately after the Jan. 17 earthquake. "Although Japanese people seemed to have reacted rather calmly thanks to the thorough coverage of the quake by television and radio, information for foreign survivors was insufficient," said Akira Koike, editor in chief of the Tagalog monthly Kaibigan.

After the quake, his newspaper distributed leaflets to temporary shelters with information in English on temporary housing and free public telephone and medical serVIceS. He urged other members of the relief group to translate the list into other languages. The group has also made efforts to confirm the safety of compatriots living in the Hanshin region. Jiang Feng, of the editorial staff of the Chinese/J apanese-Ianguage bimonthly Ryugakusei Shimbun, visited the Hanshin area in late January. During his visit, he saw 12 bodies still unidentified at a temple in Kobe's Suma Ward 10 days after the quake. "lt is possible the y were Chinese who had overstayed (their visas) and who had lived in the area. 1 don't know how we can cope with that," he said. ln hospitals, many seriously injured foreigners remained unidentified for weeks, said Lan Shu-Jen, president of New Corn Co., which publishes newspapers in Chinese, Thai and Malay. "At six hospitals 1 visited, about 40 people who were believed to be foreigners were hospitalized with serious injuries," she said. "Judging from their conditions, such as their inability to talk, l'm not sure how long it will take until they are identified." ln a park in Kobe's Nagata Ward, about 90 Vietnamese were taking refuge in several tents, Lan said, adding that half of them appear to be minors. "They said they want to stay together even if they cannot get enough food, because they can help each other," she said. "Quake survivors of minority groups have solid connections with each other," said Masakazu Shoji, president of Journal Tudo Bem, a Portuguese weekly magazme. Shoji said he went to Kobe the day after the earthquake and helped identify some Brazilian victims. "What we, the ethnie media, should do now is carry accurate reports and provide information for foreign survivors," he said. Seigo Yamanaka, a professor of communications at Tokyo's Seijo University and adviser to the relief group, said that one of the most important raies of the ethnie media is to give psychological support to for-

food specially prepared for Muslims. The group also contacted the Islamic Cultural Centers in Tokyo and Gunma Prefecture, which gathered donations from Muslim businesspeople and sent food and other provisions to Kobe. Though government relief teams were bringing food and blankets into the area soon after the quake, the group did no! immediately contact the government to ask for help because such assistance would divert resources away from other needy people, group members said. "We didn't ask for help for humanitarian reasons. Everyone is in trouble. So first we askĂŠd our (Muslim) brothers for help," Narrassid said. People at the mosque were not too upse! by the situation, he said. "Everything is from Allah. We understand that nobody can control what happens except Allah."

eigners in the devastated area. "As J apanese sufferers feel a sense of security through relief goods brought over by their relatives and friends, it is important for foreign residents to know that their fellow countrymen do care," he said.

1IIe Muslirn Wal By CAMERON HA Y Some 100 Muslims who sought refuge in the Kobe Mosque and Muslim Cultural Center in Kitano Ward after the Jan. 17 earthquake survived without outside food or other provisions for nearly four days, according to some in the group. "We had a little food, and what we had we shared between ail of us. That is the Muslim way," Egyptian Mohamad Salama, imam at the mosque, said. Hamm Narrassid, a Bangladeshi who works at a company in Japan, said the Muslim tradition of fastT ing meant the food shortage caused little hardship for those at the mosque. "1 have been training to fast since 1 was a boy. Compared to Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim year, a period of daily fasting from sunrise to sunset), having little food for a couple

of days is not a problem," he said. The group, which also inc\uded Pakistanis, Malaysians, Sri Lankans and Indonesians, drew water from the nearby weil of a Japanese family, Narrassid said. On the evening of the first Friday after the quake, two teams of Egyptian students brought in food from Osaka, incIuding "halai"

Muslims 22






Beseue Volunteers' services

wastedby bureaucratie red tape By CAMERON HA Y On Jan. 21, nongovernmental organizations met at the Sannomiya YMCA to coordinate their relief efforts for quake victims. While thousands of people had contacted the Kobe Municipal Government to offer their services as volunteers, human resources were being wasted by a government system unused to harnessing the efforts of individuals in an emergency. On the previous night, for example, two woman volunteers arrived at the municipal government building to plead for 10 more volunteers to help carry water at the Kobe Citizens Central Hospital on Port Island. Exhausted nurses were being diverted from their medical duties to haul water from trucks to the hospital, one woman said. Although a registry on the eighth floor of the municipal government holds the names of 5,000 people eager to volunteer, officiais on the first floor turned the women away. Motozo Takebe, in charge of volunteer registration at the municipal government, said the hospital itself must first contact the municipal government's public health department, which then arranges for vol unteers. On a different problem, the two women said they were asked by city government officiais to present their request in writing. Since they planned to spend the next day carrying water, the matter would be delayed a full 24 hours. People involved in relief efforts here are learning that traditional bureaucratie responses are inadequate in an emergency. "They like paperwork. They are in a big organization, so they are used to doing things in this bureaucratie way," said one of the women, who walked in from Kyoto earlier in the week to offer her services.



help themselves

up for food

to food at a makeshift


Scott Sibbald, am American staff member at the YMCA, said that he and a group of non-Japanese residents approached firefighters on the day of the quake offering to help. "We were willing to do anything. Help dig people out. There's still people buried now. But no one knew what to do with us, how to deal with individual volunteers, especially foreigners," Sibbald said. "There was no leadership. They need to cali in the army to take charge." By Jan. 21, Sibbald and other volunteers 23




were using bicycles and motorbikes to ferry water and food fram the Nagata YMCA to refugees in the area. "A lot of places can 't be reached by fourwheeled vehicles because of rubble and fallen buildings, so we're getting out to them on bikes," he said. Xu Yemeng, a 20-year-old from China who has been studying Japanese at the YMCA for the last three months, said he would join relief efforts for a few days before returning to Shanghai. "My house in Hyogo Ward burned down, and ail l've got are these clothes, weil some of them are borrowed actually, and my passport. No money. l'Il go back to Shanghai to buy some clothes and things, then corne back here, because 1think Kobe needs help," Xu said. Representatives of the YMCA, Peace and Health and Human Development, the United Church of Christ in Japan and the Kansai NGO CounciI agreed to set up a system to coordinate volunteer efforts, sharing information about where problems and resources are, and on methods for solving problems. They are not the only NGOs working to help. About 10 large loudspeaker trucks from rightist groups pulled up on National Route 2 in Sannomiya and distributed water, instant noodles and other relief goods while serving hot tea to quake victims. The rightists, in military uniforms, declined to comment. Their vehicles carried Chubu license plates.



Japanese govemment slow ta accept offers of help from other countries

Japan's response to foreign offers for help in the days following the Great Hanshin Earthquake generated tremendous criticism throughout the country and raised questions over whether the government handled the proposais in the most efficient way. As the death toll mounted hourly, foreign embassy officiais in Tokyo waited patiently for the green light to send rescue teams to the Hanshin region. By Jan. 20,29 countries and two international organizations had offered assistance for relief operations or reconstruction efforts. By Jan. 27, more than 50 nations and international organizations had offered emergency aid for the quake-devastated areas. The Japanese government, however,

initially accepted help only from the United States, which provided blankets and dispatched a te am to help in the reconstruction, and then Switzerland, which helped in the search for victims with a te am equipped with 12 rescue dogs. Even in the case of Switzerland, critics say that more people could have been found alive and rescued had the government accepted the assistance of the Swiss rescue te am immediately after the offer was made. Hours after the quake hit, France also offered the services of a 60-member disaster rescue te am equipped with four tracker dogs. Having virtually been turned down and learning that the number of victims was increasing, it re-extended the offer, which was finally accepted on the evening of Jan. 20, three full da ys after the quake. Many other countries' offers of help in the initial rescue efforts were either turned down or ignored. "It seems the J apanese government is not organized in receiving and accepting offers," one foreign embassy officiai said on Day 4, adding that there should be a section of officiais in charge of handling proposais and assistance from overseas. Another embassy officiai expressed his belief that the number of victims may have been less

A Swiss rescuer and his dog

if Tokyo had acceptedrescueteams earlier. "We are ready to send specialists with tents and food. We are not asking Japan to prepare accommodations. It is an emergency, rescue cornes first," he said. The delay in granting permission to foreign rescue teams seems largely attributable to confusion within relevant ministries and local governments, which left them unable to promptly identify what was needed and to prepare to receive foreign assistance. "After the temblor, information from the quake-hit are a was confusing, and we (the government) were un able to immediately judge whether we needed foreign assistance," a Foreign Ministry officiai said. Private relief vol un te ers from abroad also faced massive bureaucratie hurdles in their efforts to provide assistance. One te am of U .S. medical specialists, inc1uding many with experience in the 1994 Northridge earthquake in California, finalIy began providing medical aid on Jan. 23 after battling through red tape for days, only to be accepted as "unofficial aid." The group, which inc1uded eight doctors, 11 nurses and a paramedic, worked at two temporary shelters and three ho spitais in Kobe on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24.

French rescuers inspect the debris of a building







Mental health experts fear survivors may bear emotional scars long after their physical well-being has been


By CAMERON HA Y Step into any of the temporary shelters that now dot Kobe and a similar scene will confront you. Dozens of people, sitting and Iying on the floor, often surrounded by makeshift cardboard barricades to give some sense of family space. Dozens of people, but near total silence. The physical danger of the Great Hanshin Earthquake may have passed, and food, water, electricity and other basic provisions are, at last, reaching Kobe. But this silence could presage a new concern - that quake survivors may bear permanent mental scars of the trauma long after their lives appear to return to normal. To prevent this from happening, mental health experts in the region have banded together to collect information on treating post-trauma stress, train counselors, and get them into the temporary shelters and treating victims. While the traditional Japanese response to adversity is "gaman," or endurance, most mental health experts here believe survivors should be given a chance to talk about their pain. According to Kelly Lemmon-Kishi of the Kansai International Association of Counselors and Psychotherapists, the aim of the counseling is to prevent post-traumatic stress (PTS) - the normal reaction to a disaster, such as an earthquake - from developing into post-traumatic stress syndrome, or longer term emotional scars. After the earthquake hit Kobe, Lemmon-Kishi put out a request to U.S.-based mental-health-care experts for information on dealing with PTS after an earthquake. Within a week and a half, the responses had used up a second roll of fax paper, and Lemmon-Kishi began collating the information for use in Japan. The lO-page handbook she produced identifies corn mon signs of stress reactions: physical symptoms such as thirst and dizziness; cognitive symptoms such as nightmares and memory problems; emotional signs such as depression, irritability and guilt over surviving; and behavioral symptoms such as increased a1cohol or tobacco consumption, withdrawal and excessive preoccupation with media coverage of the quake. The handbook stresses that some stress is a normal reaction to a traumatic event, and that survivors must remember that they will heal and rebuild their lives, but that their lives will be different from what they were before the quake. The key is not to build a

"wall" around the pain, but to talk about the incident and its effects. Apart from talking, the handbook recommends 28 ways to feel better, inc1udingexercising, keeping a journal, drawing or doing any other creative activity - especially for people who are not "artistic," getting plenty of rest, maintaining as normal a schedule as possible, gardening, hiking, baking bread and telephoning friends. Family members and friends are advised not to tell survivors that they are "Iucky it wasn't worse," but instead tell them how sorry they are, and that they want to help in any way they cano They should also give survivors private time, reassure them that they are safe, not take their anger or other feelings personally and contact a counselor if the person seems to be in trouble. On Jan. 21, Lemmon-Kishi spoke to about 40 professional counselors at the Osaka YWCA, calling for a network of counselors to train volunteers to go into the worst hit areas of Hyogo Prefecture and treat survivors. After the meeting, Sachie Shikano and Kim Kayuri of the Osaka YWCA, together with Yukiko Nishimura of the Osaka Suicide Prevention Center, quickly organized two training courses in Osaka, led by Takako Konishi, a psychiatrist at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. One hundred thirty counselors attended. "From these applicants we chose 60 counselors who must have both counseling experience and survival skills," said Shikano of the new group, Heart Care. While about five of those selected dropped out after aftershocks hit Hyogo Prefecture, the first group of between 10 and 15volunteers went into Ashiya on Jan. 28 and 29. Based in Ashiya, members fanned out to meet and counsel survivors in their homes and temporary shelters for three days before returning to Osaka. Other groups followed. The program, together with further training sessions at the YWCA, is expected to continue until the end of March. Study sessions will continue after that, with further activity planned to coincide with the one year anniversary of the quake, when media attention may cause survivors to have flashbacks, Shikano said. "The most important things after the quake were water and supplies. But after that cornes mental care. People must be helped to stand up again. Talking is good medicine," she said. (Jan. 29) 25

Major quakes, tsunami Japan is no stranger to earthquakes. The following is a list of major earthquakes and tsunami that have struck the country this century. Strength is according to the Richter scale unless otherwise specified. Aug. 14, 1909 - 41 people killed and 978 hou ses destroyed in a 6.8 earthquake in Shiga and Gifu prefectures. March 15, 1914 - 94 people killed in a 7.1 earthquake in Akita Prefecture. Sept. 1, 1923 - Fires after the Great Kanto Earthquake, which registered 7.9, killed about 140,000 people in Tokyo and Yokohama, with more than 560,000 homes destroyed. May 23, 1925 - A 6.8 quake killed 428 people in western Japan. March 7, 1927 - A direct hit earthquake of 7.3 killed 2,935 people in Kyoto Prefecture. The quake's focal point was located immediately beneath the surface. Nov. 26, 1930 - A main temblor of 7.3 and aftershocks killed 272 people in northern Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture. March 3, 1933 - Tsunami as high as 27.8 meters killed 3,064 people on the coast of Miyagi. Prefecture. 1945 - A 6.8 quake that killed 1,961 people in Aichi Prefecture was kept secret by military authorities during World War II. Dec. 7, 1944 - Tsunami and an initial shock of 7.9 killed 998 people in Wakayama Prefecture. , Dec. 21, 1946 - About 1,400 people were killed, 13,042 buildings collapsed and 2,598 structures were destroyed by fire in an 8 earthquake centered off Wakayama Prefecture.


28, 1948 - 3,769 were people killed, 36,184 buildings collapsed and 3,851 buildings burned down in a 7.1 earthquake in Fukui Prefecture. March 4, 1952- 33 people died, 815 buildings collapsed and 91 people were washed away in an 8.2 quake focused off Hokkaido. May 23, 1960 - A tidal wave originating from an 8.5 quake off Chile killed 142 people and destroyed 1,599 buildings in northeastern Japan. June 16, 1964 - 26 people were killed and 1,960 buildings destroyed in a 7.5 earthquake in Niigata Prefecture. Feb. 21, 1968 - An earthquake registering 5 on the Japanese scale of 7 killed three and injured 42 in Miyazaki Prefecture. May 16, 1968 - 52 people perished and 673 buildings collapsed in a 7.9 earthquake focused in the seabed off Tokachi, Hokkaido, May 9, 1974 - 30 were killed and 134 buildings destroyed in a 6.9 earthquake focused off Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture. Jan. 14,1978 - 25 people were killed and 94 buildings collapsed in a 7 quake off Izu Oshima island, Tokyo. June 12, 1978- 28 perished and 1,183 buildings were destroyed in a 7.4 earthquake focused off Miyagi Prefecture. March 21, 1982 - An earthquake registering 6 on the Japanese scale of 7 injured 136 in Urakawa, Hokkaido. May 26, 1983 - 104 people were killed and 934 buildings collapsed in Akita and Aomori prefectures in a 7.7 earthquake focused in the Sea of Japan. Sept. 14, 1984 - 29 people were killed in an earthquake registerIngo6 on the Japanese scale of 7 in Otaki, Nagano Prefecture. Jan. 15, 1993 - One person was killed and 34 buildings destroyed in a 7.8 quake centered off Kushiro, Hokkaido. July 12, 1993 - More than 200 people were killed and 307 injured in a 7.8 quake and tsunami off Okushiri Island, Hokkaido. Oet. 4, 1994 - An 7.9 earthquake off eastern Hokkaido injured 436 people. Dec. 28, 1994 - 3 people were killed and 688 injured in an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 off the Sanriku area (covering Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.) Jan. 7, 1995 - A 6,9 aftershock from the Dec. 28 earthquake in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, killed one person. Jan. 17, 1995 - More than 5,300 people are killed and injured in an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 in the Kansai region.



still can' t tell

us when the next big one



By TETSUSHI KAJIMOTO The Great Hanshin Earthquake provided a chilling reminder for Tokyoites, who have long lived in fear of a second Great Kanto Earthquake, of the devastating impact that a major temblor can have in a heavily popula'ted urban area. A worst-case scenario drawn up three years ago by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government predicts more th an 9,300 dead, 147,000 injured and 632,000 buildings destroyed in Tokyo if an earthquake of 7.9 on the open-ended Richter scale - the same

magnitude as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923- occurs beneath Sagami Bay. The impact would be worst if such a temblor hits in winter , at around 6 p.m., with a north wind of at least 6 meters per second. A quake somewhat smaller in magnitude, equal to the one that hit the Hanshin area with a magnitude of 7.2, just beneath Tokyo would cause a disaster on a similar scale, according to the latest computer simulations by the Tokyo Fire Defense Agency. The agency says that if a quake of the size of the Jan. 17 quake hits in the same predawn hours, some 68,000 people would be either killed or injured. If it occurs in the evening rush hour, at around 6 p.m., the number of deaths and injuries would rise to 86,000 or more. Immediately after the quake in Kansai, Kiyoo Mogi, chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, said he sees "no direct relationship" between it and the possibility of a major quake hitting Kanto. Some say, however, that a major quake colild happen in the Kanto region at any time. According to the Meteorologieal Agency, the number of quakes strong enough to be felt by people has increased sharply in the Tokyo area since December. Ten such quakes were observed in December and the same number were reported by early January. An agency officiaI said the phenomenon could merely be a coincidence. More than 40 minor quakes occur in the area each year, and the recent temblors may have coincidentallx been concentrated in the last two months and are not likely to cause a chain reaction, he said. However, Katsuyuki Abe, a researcher at the Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, said, "An earthquake with a vertical shock of a (Richter) magnitude of 7 can occur anywhere and at any moment in the region," adding that a '~nest" of large faults lies beneath Tokyo. "These faults may cause quakes by themse\ves, but they can also be triggered in a chain reaction by one big temblor, which is likely to occur by early in the next century," said Katsuhiko Ishibashi, head of the Applied Seismology Division at the International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering. 26

The skies over Awaji Island are mysteriously Ishibashi, who in 1976 released a now-famous theory on the mechanisms of earthquakes beneath Suruga Bay off Shizuoka Prefecture and pointed out the existence of a fault in west Sagami Bay in 1977, has long been warning that a major quake will hit the area around Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, by early next century. "Since the early 17th century, the Odawara are a has suffered severe earthquakes on five occasions, occurring about 70 years apart," he said. Some experts say the 70-year cycle has only been relevant during the last few hundred years and therefore may only have been a coincidence. Others say the five major quakes did not have th~ir epicenters at exactly the same place, so the theory cannot be applied to predict future events. But history suggests the quake-cycle phenomenon cannot be denied, Ishibashi said. Ishibashi attributes the quakes in the area to the activity of the Philippine Plate, which has been moving beneath the Kanto Plain in a north-northeast direction for millions of years. According to Ishibashi, the plate is continuing to move at a rate of 3 cm a year and is applyi?g strain on the fault that runs

bright shortly before the predawn

approximately from Odawara to the Izu Peninsula. The strain on the fauIt is accumulating and will be released after a certain period, he said. When a major quake hit Odawara in 1853, it triggered temblors in neighboring areas, one with a magnitude believed to be 8.4 in the Tokai region in 1854. Ishibashi admits this is an extreme exampie, and such major quakes do not occur in the Tokai region or in Tokyo as often as they do in Odawara. However, he predicts that a future quake in Odawara will play a role in triggering other quakes, possibly in Tokyo. Earthquakes under the Kanto Plain are caused by either the region's numerous faults, collisions between the Kanto Plain and its underlying plates (the Philippine and the Pacific plates), or colIisions between the plates themselves. But researchers are at a loss when it cornes to predicting when or where the quakes will occur, Ishibashi said. "The nest of faults is spread widely under the Kanto Plain, sometimes down to 100 km beneath the ground. Because of a thick layer of sediment on the plain and a high level of human activity, such as sub27



ways and construction work, signs of naturai underground action are hard to detect," said Abe of the University of Tokyo. One in every 10 major earthquakes in the world is said to occur in Japan, and the country is considered one of the most advanced in the study of temblors. And yet, prediction remains an almost hopeless task, with the possible exception of the Tokai region. "It is possible to forecast earthquakes in the Tokai region, since submarine seismometers have been placed there and the mechanism of the quakes in the area is clearly known, but forecasting in other areas remains impossible at present," Kozo Ninomiya, director general of the Meteorological Agency, reporte dlY said when he met with Transport Minister Shizuka Kamei before the Jan. 17 quake. Ninomiya briefed Kamei on the state of the country's quake forecasting system, and reporte dlY emphasized the need for the government to improve it. Ishibashi said researchers themselves appear reluctant to address the toiling and possibly sensitive task of earthquake prediction. "They seem to be tired of bearing the heavy responsibility of predicting quakes for society," he said.


To. JPBJared?

Hanshin quake stuns Tokyo officiais, forces govemment ta order immediate rethink of infrastructure standards, emerge~cy relief measures

Jan. 26 at City Hall, said the metropolitan government will conduct reinforcement work on public facilities once the national government cornes up with revised regulations in the wake of the devastating Hanshin earthquake. Metropolitan officiais and private-sector experts on lifelines and public transportation participated in the meeting. They included officiais of such firms as Tokyo Electric Power Co., Tokyo Gas Co., East Japan Railway Co., Nippon Telegraph and TeleThe levels of strength of an earthquake according to the phone, and the intensity scale used by the Meteorological Agency Metropolitan ExLevel 0: Not felt by people but strong enough to be repressway Co. corded on a seismometer "Damage caused by the earthquake Level 1: Felt only by people remaining still or people sensitive to quakes in the Hanshin area was far beyond our Felt by most people. Slight tremors of doors or Level 2: expectations. Pubshoji (sliding paper screen) can be seen lic facilities, housLevel 3: Houses are jolted. Doors and shoji screens rating and lifelines, as tle. Objects hanging from ceilings, such as light weil as bullet train fixtures, swing much. Liquids in containers pitch lines and expressand roll ways - long conLevel 4: Houses are jolted strongly. Unstable objects, sidered quake-resuch as a vase, topple. Liquids spill out of consistant - were seritainers. Felt also by people walking. Many peoously damaged. ple go out of their houses "Each bureau Level 5: Walls get cracked. Tombstones fall down. Chimshould urgently reneys and stone fences are damaged examine metropoliLevel 6: Less than 30 percent of hou ses collapse. Landtan governmentslides occur. Cracks appear in the ground. Most run facilities to prepeople cannot stand pare for a possible Level 7: 30 percent of houses or more collapse. Landstrong earthquake, slides occur, the ground cracks or faults are with attention to caused by the earthquake geographical and

By KAORUKO AITA and ASAKO MURAKAMI The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is set to re-examine whether current earthquake countermeasures and regulations would be sufficient if a temblor the size of the Great Hanshin Earthquake were to hit the metropolis. Gov. Shunichi Suzuki, addressing an emergency disaster prevention meeting on

Earthquake intensities


environmental conditions," Suzuki said. He also asked representatives of firms in charge of lifelines and transportation to conduct similar inspections, in cooperation with the relevant authorities. Mamoru Kimura, head of the disaster prevention division,said the metropolitan government should first review how to secure necessary drinking water sl!Ppliesand examine the safety of structures buiit before the enactment of the revised Basic .

ConstructionLaw in 1980.

Tokyo experts who were sent to Kobe on a fact-finding mission shortly after the quake shared the public's concern over whether Tokyo could withstand a similar quake. Citing reports that gravity measurement registered in the Great Hanshin Earthquake was twice as strong as that in the Great Kanto Earthquake, Makoto Oka of

er public facilities that would be used as shelters, should be conducted promptly to determine whether they will serve their role properly," said Yoshio Kumagai, an associate professor of urban disaster prevention at the University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. "Reinforcement of such facilities and of transportation facilities is one of the few things that can be done in Tokyo right now," he said. Nakabayashi of Tokyo Metropolitan University, one of the people who drew up the disaster relief plan, said much more practice and drills are necessary to ensure that relief activities are carried out smoothIy. "1 expect stored supplies, incIuding food, water and other emergency goods, will be enough for survivors in a quake the size of the Great Kanto Earthquake, but if distribution is disrupted, the goods will be useless," he said. Some urban-planning experts say the very concept of living in big cities should be re-examined. "High density as a result of seeking only economic efficiency is making cities vulnerable to quakes. Living in big cities in itself involves the risk of massive damage from calamities like quakes," said Kozo Amano, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, a specialist in transport and urban planning. Major cities should not be allowed to Derailment in the train yard KYODO become bigger and thus more vulnerable to quake damage, Amano said. the Transportation Bureau said he simply the Great Kanto Earthquake. People should ask themselves if they reprays that Tokyo will not be hit by such a Expressways in Tokyo, some of which ally want to live in such cities, said Shigeru strong quake. are older than the Hanshin Expressway, Kashima, a professor of civilengineering at The current disaster relief plan of Toare not necessarily stronger, they said. Chuo University. kyo, which was drawnup to deal with dam"The (Hanshin) quake collapsed the "Do we really want cities that are so age caused by an earthquake the size of the myth that these structures are resistant to congested and polluted? Having economiGreat Kanto Earthquake, was compiled quakes," said Nobuo Nishimura, a profes- caliy efficient cities does not mean the peoover the past two decades. sor of civil engineering at Osaka Universi- ple living in them are happy," Kashima OfficiaIs are confident in the efficiency ty. said. of the plan, as long as the shock from the Experts have found that the quake, To make cities better places to live, he next big quake does not exceed that of the which originated in a fault running directly suggested residents be allowed to partici1923 temblor. under the heavily populated Hanshin area, pate in city planning. "But we cannot imagine what will hapcaused strong vertical as weil as horizontal "To realize that, local governments pen if Tokyo is hit by a quake like the Jan. movement. Current building standards are should discIose information," he said. "As 17 killer quake in the Hanshin area," said not designed to withstand such vertical a civil engineer, 1 feel 1 bear some Mikio Morita of the Transportation Bu- shocks. responsibility for the tragedy that killed reau. "To prepare for a massive quake similar so many people. To prevent such a Some private experts question whether to the Great Hanshin Earthquake, safety tragedy, individuals must start thinking of the current dis aster relief plan would even inspections of buildings, incIuding ward ways to make their voices heard in city be sufficient to de al with a quake the size of and city offices, hospitals, schools and oth- planning. " 29


Ihln 1923

Great Kanto Earthquake may have registered a higher magnitude on the Richter scale, but it pales in comparison in terms of gravity measurement, acceleration

contractor Takenaka Corp. Just as death toll continued to mount, new revelations came out Of 52 apartment buildings in Ashiyahama Seaside Town built each day about the massive energy of the Jan. 17 earthquake, on recJaimed land, 21 that are between 40 and 70 meters tall which seems to have gone beyond the long-established assumption suffered damage to their main pillars, according to officiais of the of civil engineers. firm, which designed and constructed them. On Jan. 20, the Meteorological Agency revised upward the It is the first known instance of quake-caused damage to this intensity of the quake for part of Kobe and northern Awaji Island type of support structures for skyscrapers, experts said. to seven, the maximum, on the Japanese scale. It was the first time Stricter design criteria are applied to buildings of 60 meters or since the seventh scale was adopted in 1949. higher, but some experts said that Japan should review its tendenThree days later, the Construction Ministry reported that the cy to construct higher buildings as weil as its criteria for making gravit y measurement registered in the temblor in Kobe was more skyscrapers quake-resistant. than twice that of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Takenaka officiais said they will repair the pillars by welding on ln terms of magnitude on the Richter scale, the Jan. 17 quake sheets of steel. registered 7.2, sm aller than 7.9 registered in the 1923 quake. The apartment buildings, completed in 1979, each have eight But the gravit y measurement registered by the Jan. 17 quake was as high as 833 gais in Chuo Ward, Kobe, compared with an main hollow pillars made of steel up to 5 cm thick. They measure estimated 300-400 gais in the case of hardest-hit area in the 1923 up to 50 cm by 50 cm. The damage will be repaired quickly, but some residents have disaster. evacuated on their own initiative. One gai is a unit of acceleration equivalent to 1 cm per second ln one of the 70-meter skyscrapers, six of eight pillars were squared. damaged. Three weeks after the earthquake, a scientist came up with Hisao Mukai, vice director of the design department at Takenother data showing that the quake was the most violent in modern aka's Osaka headquarters, said that even in their present condiJapanese history, shaking the ground with a horizontal acceleration, the buildings can withstand an aftershock registering 5 on the tion of 8.17 meters per second per second. Fumio Yamazaki, an associate professor at the University of Japanese intensity scale of 7. Mukai said the earthquake showed that the current design Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science, said the temblor's vertical criteria for skyscrapers, aimed at preventing their collapse, are acceleration was 3.32 meters per second per second. suitable. Peter Hadfield, author of "Sixty Seconds That Will Change The Kiyoaki Takeyama, an assistant professor of construction planWorld," a book that examines the likely effects of a major quake ning at Shoin Jogakuin Junior College, said some of the buildings hitting Tokyo, said the horizontal shock recorded in Kobe was have become dangerous, and he added that skyscrapers other than roughly equivalent to a gravitational force of 0.8 G. those in the Ashiya housing complex may have also suffered Such a force, he explained, "would be like being thrown sidedamage to their main pillars. ways at the speed you would reach when jumping off a building." Kobe city officiais also reported that about 16 percent of the According to Yamazaki, the quake also featured a horizontal pillars in the city subway's section between Sannomiya and Shinvelocity of.89.3 cm per second and a vertical velocity of 39.6 cm Nagata stations were severely cracked in the quake. per second. It is said to be unusual for subway structures to be damaged by Yamazaki caJculated the quake's acceleration, velocity and disan earthquake, and Transport Ministry sources said they plan to placement using data provided by the Kobe Maritime Meteororeview quake-resistant standards for subways. logical Observa tory . Approximately 30 steel and concrete pillars supporting SannoNo wonder the unimaginable should happen. miya Station in Chuo Ward were found to be cracked. ln KamisaNine bridges collapsed in the quake, incJuding part of the Hanwa Station, Hyogo Ward, 40 pillars were damaged. shin Expressway linking Kobe with Osaka. A 500-meter-stretch of Fifty pillars were severely damaged each between Kamisawa the expressway fell on its side wh en support pillars snapped at and Nagata stations and between Nagata and Shin-Nagata statheir bases. tions, the officiais said. The earthquake damaged the main steel pillars of high-rises in However, platforms and concourses at the stations of the city Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, shaking the assumption that tall buildsubway have been left almost intact, they said. (Kyodo) ings are temblor-proof, according to officiais of an Osaka-based 30


Crisis calls for a drastic chanue apanese politics during the past 10 days has revealed an inherent lack of genuine consideration for the welfare of the citizens. People have witnessed, with disgust and anger, a political performance whieh looked as if it was intended to be a grand stand play rather than a sincere effort. The most prominent example of such behavior was the almost ritual delivery by the prime minister of his policy speech and the complacent presentation of an opposition position, which was conducted earlier this week at the outset of the just- opened ordinary session of the Diet. Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama sim pl Yread straight from a policy document composed by bureaucrats. Of course, he devoted many words to measures the government would take to alleviate the sufferings of the earthquake victims in the Kansai region. But his pledges were void of concreteness from which the people in Kobe or anywhere else could get much of an encouraging message. His speech was followed by an oration by Mr. Toshiki Kaifu, a former Liberal Democratic prime minister and now head of the opposition Shinshinto (New Frontier Party), who departed from the usual practice of questioning the premier about his policy message and spouted off an opposition version of a policy speech. He asked only one question about the reason for the government's rejection of a Shinshinto proposai that the Diet take a lO-day recess in order to allow the government to concentrate on quake relief efforts. Mr. Murayama simply said the proposed adjournment would not help the government and the Diet jointly tackle relief and reconstruction measures. His 40-minute address, thus, was almost totally ignored by Mr. Murayama, who stated that Mr. Kaifu only offered an expression of opinion and proposais (but not on the question of the dis aster in Kansai). ln fact, Mr. Murayama mechanically read a dreary bureaucratic composition while Mr. Kaifu stuck to a performance arranged before the killer earthquake devastated Kobe and its vicinity. This eloquently showed that both leaders shared no urgent sense of crisis and drew strong public criticism and anger. The accusing finger has been pointed, mainly, at Mr. Murayama and other government officiais involved. Indeed, they should have tried, at least, to address in the Diet the many questions and

doubts that remain unanswered for the majority of the populace. Why was every relief effort so slow to start? Why did this country appear reluctant to promptly accept relief aid from foreign countries? And, what is the first thing to do in the wake of such a catastrophe? These are only a few of a mountain of the urgent questions that should have been addressed. At every level of administration and at every stage of the unfolding crisis, Mr. Murayama and ail other responsible politicians and officiais should have tried to de al with these issues, especially for the benefit of the quake victims and other concerned people. We hear too many complaints that.for several days after the quake, officiais at both high and low levels failed to comply with inquiries or requests from citizens because the y had received no "instructions from above." This Japanese mindset inherent in the vertically divided bureaucracy has been hampering the progress of relief efforts as badly as the politicians' insensitivity. The Hanshin Great Earthquake has forced ail Japanese to recognize that this country do es not have a reliable crisis management system. It came as a total surprise that the Prime Minister's Officiai Residence not only received initial information about the temblor from TV broadcasts but also had to rely on such sources in its initial effort to gauge the scale of the disaster. Unbelievably, the central government was unable to obtain adequate information directly from the Hyogo Prefectural Government because the ordinary te lephone circuits had been disrupted. Now the urgent task for this nation is to create a national crisis management system by integrating related functions under a single commando During the 38-year-Iong rule of the Liberal Democratie Party, efforts were consistently exerted to build up capabilities to cope with an emergency on the defense and security front. But little attention was paid to the need to establish a national system to deal with a crisis like the current one, which has killed more th an 5,000 people and has inflicted suffering on tens of thousands of other citizens. ln this sense, the negative legacy of our past poli tics is greatly responsible for the present sorry state of affairs. A revolution in thinking and a drastic revamping of the administrative organization will be demanded for the establishment of such a crisis management system. But this country must meet the demand. (TheJapan Times, January 26,1995)



. 1

One of the most scenic cities and residential areas in western Japan awoke ta an endless nightmare on that fateful T uesday, struck by death and destruction. But despair over losses and fears over the future have not given way to defeat as people begin the process of rebuilding their lives one day at a time

lA Y 1 IJln~ m 5:46 a.m. -A massive earthquake registering magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale devastates southern Hyogo Prefecture, toppting buildings, houses and elevated highways and railtines. Numerous fires break out in Kobe, ravaging the city's downtown area throughout the day and night. The quake at first registers six on the Japanese scale of seven in Kobe and in Hokudan, A waji Island. Noon - The National Police Agency reports the death toll at 203, with 331listed as missing. 2 p.m. - The Meteorological Agency says the quake was probably caused by a lateral shift in a fault below A waji Island. 4 p.m. - Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, at a news conference, describes the quake as the worst one to strike an urban area since the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and pledges all-out rescue efforts.

The death toll rises hourly, sometimes by more than one hundred. By midnight, casualties are reported at 1,590 dead and 1,017 missing.

Relief efforts are under way for Kobe's new homeless ByAKEMINAKAMURA About 92,000 residents were forced to take refuge at 332 gymnasiums, parks and other temporary shelters after being left homeless by an earthquake that devastated Kobe. They received snacks, water and blankets provided by the municipal government. The local government set up a task force and started gathering damage information and taking steps to support evacuees. The task force also asked local businesses, inc\uding Daiei Inc. and Co-op Kobe, to help supply emergency provisions for the city's 1.5 million residents. "My apartment did not collapse. 1 came here (to Kobe City Hall) to try to get information about aftershocks. 1 can't get any 32

information because 1 don't understand Japanese," said an Indonesian man accompanied by his family. Kobe was hardest hit by the quake among cities and towns in southern Hyogo Prefecture. ln the city, an eight-story building, a three-story hotel, a key building at Ikuta Shrine and hundreds of wooden buildings collapsed, trapping people under rubble. City officiaIssaid houses and other structures were crushed at 757 locations. Widespread damage to roads was also reported. Three sections of the Hanshin Expressway collapsed in Kobe and nearby Nishinomiya, taking dozens of cars with them, police said. As many as 146fires broke out in the city of Kobe alone, burning up an area about 100,000 square meters in total by the evening. A fire that destroyed an entire shopping arcade in Nagata Ward, and two more blazes in Suma Ward, inc\uding one in the Terada district, were still raging as of midnight, fire department officiaIs said. Ali but one person trapped beneath the

de bris of the Kobe Municipal West Civic Hospital, which collapsed in the quake, were confirmed alive as of 10 p.m. City officiais and rescue workers freed 33 patients and nurses from the de bris before 9 p.m. and were trying to save four others. The violent quake brought down the seven-story hospital. The fifth floor disappeared completely. Relatives gathered as rescue efforts continued. A 36-year-old woman whose father is believed still in the hospital said tearfulIy, "1 had been so happy (before the quake) when 1 was told that my father could leave the hospital soon." The quake also cut off electricity to the site, forcing the rescue team to use its own lighting in the search, the officiais said. About 226,000 telephone lines in Nagata, Chuo, Hyogo and Nishi wards were cut, the city officiais said. The quake also forced Kobe Port to close, as many of its 240 piers were damaged, and vessels are being denied use of the port, according to a municipal government officiaI. Some freighters and ferries were rerouted to other ports, and some are waiting in the harbor for the port to reopen, he said. Kobe Port Island and Rokko Island, both man-made islands that are part of the

Island at epicenter of quake avoids massive damage

By CAMERON HA Y Despite being at the epicenter of the devastating earthquake Jan. 17, Awaji Island escaped the massive loss of life and large-scale destruction seen in densely built-up cities across the Seto Inland Sea. Municipal governments here reported that 3,000 houses were destroyed, 52 people were killed and 150injured. Many residents survived apparently because the y were sleeping on the second floor of old houses where the first floor was completely crushed. "When the earthquake came, the Earth mov.edup and down," said Sadakichi Akaji, 75, a resident in Ichinomiya, Awaji Island. "1 couldn't do anything. The first floor just collapsed, but we were on the second floor. 1saw some light, and crawled out. Then 1got some help for my wife, who is in the hospital now but is ail right." "The children had just corne back from a ski trip, so there were six of us here," Fumiko Yasui, 64, said. "The first floor was crushed, but we were ail on the second floor, so no one was hurt. Having our lives is everything, 1 suppose." port, have been isolated since bridges to The loss of life in Hokudan, a town at the the mainland were damaged. northern end of Awaji Island, was About 34,500 residents are trapped on greater. the two islands, he said. "Five people were sleeping on the first "We must repair bridges and tramways floor here. Four of them were saved. We to give residents access to and from the lost one little girl who was in elementary islands," the local government officiai school," said an elderly man in Hokudan, said. as his sister, the grandmother of lO-yearold Misa Sowa, picked her way through the rubble of the house. Most of the houses that were destroyed or suffered extensive damage were older buildings. "Look at this, that house is standing, so is that one, and so is that one. Ali the newer ones are OK. Only mine A school dock stopped when the quake hit KIMIO IDA is damaged because 33


in Kobe


it's old, about 50 years old. 1 don't know what 1'11do. l've only got fire insurance," an elderly man in Hokudan said. Ali the large fires on the island appeared to have been extinguished by the afternoon, in contrast to Kobe, where continuing blazes cast thick black smoke over the city.

DAY 6:22 a.m.




Leakage is reported from

liquid petroleum gas tanks in Higashi-Nada Ward, prompting authorities to advise resident to evacuate. 10:30 a.m. - The Health and Welfare Ministry reports a cutoff in water supplies to either alt or parts of five cities and four towns in the region, affecting 2.28 million people. 10 p.m. - The NPA reports the death tolt at 2,594, with 881 listed as missing.

Survivors, rescuers struggle to cope in the aftermath of the earthquake By SACHIKO HIRAO Unes of people on foot and bicycles carrying emergency items to Kobe stretched for miles along National Route 2.

People carried bottled water, canned tea, food and blankets for their families, relatives and friends who survived the quake in the hardest-hit area. There were also many people traveling in the opposite direction, evacuating the devastated city and seeking shelter in the homes of relatives in Osaka. Hankyu Railway restored service from Umeda Station in Osaka to Nishinomiya Kitaguchi Station, midway between Osaka and Kobe. It is the only train service available between the two cities. Auto traffic was clogged because Route 43 is currently the only road that leads from Osaka to Kobe. Many passengers either started walking or bought bicycles at a local bike shop, one of the few businesses open in the area. Collapsed homes and shops, buildings with broken windows and fallen power poles line both sides of Route 2, which like many roads in the area is now cracked and bumpy, and littered with broken glass. At a local junior high school designated as an evacuation center, people formed long lines in front of a water supply tank that arrived in the morning. Some set up tents on the school grounds. "1 stayed where there was only a roof because the place was packed and 1 couldn't find space. 1could hardly sleep. It was cold and we had aftershocks," said a 21-year old woman whose house was damaged. ln the surrounding areas, some people were able to retrieve bare necessities from their half-collapsed condominiums through broken windows. Experts in earthquake engineering start-

ed examining the destroyed homes and buildings in the area. "Houses were totally flattened. This shows the power of the quake," said Masakatsu Miyajima, an associate professor in civil engineering at Kanazawa University. "Most wooden Engulfed by flames structures co 1lapsed, while buildings made of reinforced concrete survived. It was a sharp contrast."



(Jan. 181

7:30 a.m. - New fires break out in central Kobe. 9:16 a.m. - A team of 25 Swiss rescuers and search dogs arrive at the Kansai International Airport. Murayama visits the region, saying that the damage is beyond his imagination. 3:25 p.m. - A 9-year-old boy is rescued 57 hours after being trapped under the debris of a condominium in Nishinomiya. 10:02 p.m. - The government sets up an emergency headquarters led by Murayama. 11:45 p.m. - The NP A reports the death toll at 4,015, with 587 missing, making the quake the worst disaster since the Great Kanto Earthquake.

A man stands before the ruins of his home on Awaji Island 34



Rescuers pull survivors, bodies from wreckage of collapsed houses, buildings Severallucky people, including a 9-yearold boy, were freed from collapsed houses and buildings in Hyogo Prefecture, more than 50 hours after the area was hit by a powerful quake. But nearly 1,500 others were pulled out from the rubble as dead bodies on Day 3 alone. A team of rescue dogs and their Swiss train ers arrived in Kobe in the morning to help locate people buried in the rubble. "We got the call at 9:30 a.m. and were on the flight from Zurich at one," said one of the trainers. "It was over a 12-hour flight, and with ail the dogs, together they didn't get any sleep. But their search efforts proved grim. By the next morning, they located five bodies, but no survivors. They were aware that hopes of finding survivors were fading fast. "I1's possible that people could survive this long (after the Jan. 17 quake), but the collapsed homes here crushed down on the bodies, making it hard to find space to breathe," said a Swiss dog handler. Shinsuke Yamada, 9, was rescued from the ruins of a collapsed condominium in Kobe at around 3:30 p.m., 57 hOUTSafter he was trapped, police said. He was conscious and was rushed to a nearby hospital. The condominium building was completely destroyed in the quake. ln Ashiya, a 74-year-old were rescued from a crushed house at around 11:10 a.m., police said. ln Kobe's Higashi-Nada Ward, a 70year-old woman was rescued from the de-

resumes between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka. 11 :30 a.m. - 950,000 households in Hyogo are reported to be lacking water supply and 850,000 are without gas. 6 p.m. - The Meteorological Agency revises upward the intensity of the quake for part of Kobe and northern A waji Island to 7, the maximum on the Japanese scale. It is the first time that a quake is graded as a 7 since the seventh scale was added in 1949. 7:20 p.m. -A huge landslide in HigashiNada Ward forces the evacuation of 600 residents. Nagata Ward, Kobe, is left in ruins after the quake KYODO

bris of her house, after a two-hour operation to extract her, at around 9:20 a.m. Doctors said the woman, identified as Chiyoko Amakawa, had bruises covering most of her body but no broken bones. Amakawa, who has diabetes and is barely able to walk, credited her rescue to her dog "Pochi," a stray she once rescued at a park. "It was pitch dark and my left leg hurt so much 1 was thirsty, and 1 called to Pochi and told him 1 was in pain and needed help," Amakawa said. "1 just wondered over and over again when 1 was going to die. " It was Pochi's barking that alerted rescuers to Amakawa, police said. ln neighboring Nishinomiya, Tokiko Orii, 80, and Yoshimi Nomura, 80, were saved from the rubble of their homes. The two women were found when Orii responded to calls from Self-Defense Force personnel searching the debris. Nomura suffered serious injuries. AIthough Orii was very weak, she had only minor injuries to her legs and hands and was not seriously hurt, police said. Junji T~naka, 62, was rescued from beneath a destroyed building in Nishinomiya. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.


Idao. 201

9:30 a.m.- Hyogo Prefecture announces that 283,000 people have evacuated to temporary shelters. 10:07 a.m. - Shinkansen train services

Relief comes slowly for 275,000 people living in temporary shelters

Osaka on National Routes 2 and 43, which run parallel to the coast. Yet emergency provisions have been insufficient to fill many stomachs. There is simply not enough food, and the provisions are not equally distributed to the shelters because of a lack of manpower and coordination. Although far from adequate, the two national highways are now the only arteries linking the city with Osaka - which

dodged major damage - since the Hanshin Expressway has closed after sections of it came crashing down. At some shelters, provisions were so scarce on the second and third day of the dis aster that there was only one box lunch for every three evacuees, they said. But city officiaIs said that the food problem is improving gradually, owing much to the help of concerned citizens and local governments across the country. One reason for the delay in emergency provisions has been traffic jams. Vehicles transporting emergency goods were stuck in tieups as people drove their cars to the quake-stricken city to pick up relatives. During the first {hree days after the quake, it took up to 12 hours to travel from Osaka to Kobe. The National Police Agency has banned ail private vehicles from the highways to clear the roads for emergency vehicles. The quake was the first to destroy such a large urban are a in Japan since the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. Except for tsunami, it triggered every possible calamity that a severe jolt could bring - structural collapse, landslides and fires.

By MASARU FUJIMOTO They sit helplessly, their eyes empty. Most of the nearly 275,000 evacuees scattered among 980 temporary shelters in Kobe have littIe courage or even hope after their lives were shattered by the worst quake in living memory. Tens of thousands of houses, as weil as offices, schools, hospitals, utilities and public transportation systems in the Hanshin area have been destroyed. Many evacuees lost loved ones, homes and ail their material possessions, along with the familiar cityscape that was a point of pride for Kobe. Most now have only a bag of clothes and a blanket provided by relief organizations. "1 can't imagine what 1 will do now," said a middle-aged woman, one of about 100people taking sheIter in a lobby at Kobe City Hall. The people here are shattered. They cannot even think about tomorrow - another day without a stable supply of water, power and gas. They are almost completely dependent on the good will of others. Convoys of trucks loaded with food, water and other relief goods are slowly coming into the city from A family moums KIMIO IDA 35

The Sannomiya district, Kobe's center and one of the most popular destinations for domestic travelers, is in chaos. Sirens roaring, ambulances and fire engines rush through the district's main Flower Road, a boulevard strewn with the debris of fallen walls and broken glass. Buildings that once housed banks, insurance and securities firms and other businesses along the boulevard are now lifeless hulks. Although the city has been devastated, some shops, though extremely limited, have started providing what they have. Near the Motomachi district neighboring Sannomiya, a fish store is serving seafood and rice cooked on a propane-gas stove. "We served about 650 meals today," said Sumiaki Yokoyama, 47, co-owner of the Sendo fish shore. He said he offered the food at cost. "1 don't know how long our business will last. But we are all suffering from the same disaster," he said.

Hardships mount as Kobe's homeless spend their fourth night at shelters By SACHIKO HIRAO Hardships for surviving families and evacuees stretched into the fourth day after the earthquake cut off lifelines here, leaving thousands without water, heat and food. About 20 bodies awaited identification' by surviving families at a temporary morgue set up at Shimoyamate Elementary School in Chuo Ward, Kobe. Many families have spent days with the bodies of their loved ones, sitting on the f]oor a hall where the coffins are laid out. "Even if surviving families identify the deceased-here, many have no home where they can conduct a funeral," a municipal officiaI at the morgue said. "And some people from outside the city are having great difficulty getting here at all." About 35 bodies, inc1udingthose of Korean and Chinese residents, were left wrapped in blankets until Day 3 due to a shortage of coffins. On the first f]oor of the same elementary school, about 500 evacuees prepared to spend yet another night in shelter. "1 want to go home though my house is a

mess. 1 can't sleep because of the fear of aftershocks," said Chie Kimura, 12, who spent two nights in the Shimoyamate school shelter with her parents. Chikako Kida, 12, said that she met some of her c1assmatesafter the quake but that her schoolteacher was still missing in Higashi-Nada Ward, one of the most heavily damaged areas. "Bodies of some of my neighbors are still under the debris," said Tsutomu Ina, 36, who evacuated to Nishi-Nada Elemen.tary School in Nada Ward after his condominium collapsed. "After 1 got myself out, 1 kept calling their names with other neighbors," Ina said. "We pulled out those who responded, but we don't know what happened to others who didn't." Ina described his escape from the collapsed condo as a "circus" because he got himself out on a fallen ceiling, c1imbedup on to what used to be a rooftop and jumped to the next building in pitch darkness. "1 was lucky. If you are lucky, a door of your house opens. If you aren't lucky, the door doesn't open. Luck draws a line between life and death," Ina said. Later in the day, Ina rushed to an evacuation shelter and found his parents and siblings who live in other parts of Nada Ward and Higashi-Nada Ward. At both shelters set up in Nishinari and Shimoyamate Elementary Schools, food and drinking water have been supplied, while a shortage of those items is reported

Prime Minister




in some areas. Although food and other emergency items are coming into the city, shortage of labor to unload and distribute them to the quake victims keeps the shipments from reaching those who need it, Kobe Mayor Kazutoshi Sasayama said.



ldaH. 211

3:45 p.rn. -A 75-year-old woman is rescued 106 hours after being trapped in a collapsed house in Higashi-Nada Ward. She was to be the last person to be rescued alive. 9:12 p.rn. - An aftershock measures 4 on the Japanese scale in Hokudan, Awaji Island, and 3 in Kobe.

Tens of thousands arrive with relief supplies for friends, family By SACHIKO HIRAO and AKEMI NAKAMURA Tens of thousands of people from around the country carried cardboard boxes, large bags and backpacks full of food, water and other relief goods into the devastated port city of Kobe as it entered the first weekend after the Jan. 17 quake. Backpackers concerned about their kin and friends started crowding Osaka's

visits a temporary


in Kobe


ied in the debris of collapsed houses although some were found dead. Patrick said he is working as a volunteer at an Ashiya hospital. A 26-year-old man of Suita, Osaka Prefecture, said he will visit six relatives living between Nishinomiya and Evacuees pass through Higashi-Nada Ward KIMIO IDA Suma Ward, western Kobe, and has Umeda Station on the Hankyu Kobe Line brought portable cooking stoves for them. at around 9 a.m. Because no transportation is available Because of extensive damage to the from Nishinomiya Kitaguchi Station, most tracks, commuter trains are running only passengers headed west by foot. It takes to Nishinomiya Kitaguchi Station in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, the halfway point between Osaka and Kobe. A Hankyu spokeswoman said the company is operating shuttle runs on the line every three minutes. At Nishinomiya Kitaguchi, Yumi Sasabe, a 28-year-old securities house employee of Kobe's Higashi-Nada Ward, said she was waiting for her friend from Osaka to bring water and food. "1 drove to the station. It took me about two hours," she said. She said she is beginning to feel anxious about her family's future after the earthquake deprived them of water, gas and electricity supplies in addition to family ties. Her grandmother was sent to a relative's home in Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, while she is taking turns with her parents and brother to stay at another relative's home in Osaka. Chikako Urahama, 38, of Nishinomiya, said she is heading to Osaka to buy plastic A girl pushes a cart overloaded with tanks tO,saverain water for the toilet as the her possessions KIMIOIDA first rainfall in a week is expected over the weekend. about four hours to walk to the Sannomiya Her three elementary school children district in the central part of Kobe. were sent to her relative's house in Osaka Others took ferry services that resumed while she and her husband cIean the debris on Jan. 19, linking Kobe with Osaka and at their accounting office in Nishinomiya. Kansai International Airport. "Kobe wasn't prepared for an earthAbout 150 passengers with heavy lugquake at ail. They (the city) don't know gage boarded a high-speed ferry at Osaka's what to do," said Lester Patrick, 34, an Tempozan harbor at 9 a.m. to bring relief English teacher whose apartment was de- goods to their relatives and friends. They molished by the earthquake. arrived in Kobe about 50 minutes later. He said he helped dig out residents burAt a destroyed pier in Harborland, 37

which opened two years ago as part of the city's waterfront development project, hundreds of Kobe residents waited in lines that stretched about 100 meters in a bid to get out of the city by the shuttle boat going back to Osaka. ''l've been waiting for the ferry sin ce midnight Friday," said Yasuo Naoe, 39, with a cart carrying a cardboard box and a bag packed with bottled water, a portable gas stove and cIothes. "1 couldn't get water in Osaka, so 1 had someone send them to me."

Naoe said he lives in Hyogo Ward, Kobe, but moved to Osaka immediately after the quake, leaving his family behind at a temporary shelter in the ward. "The reality is quite different from what you see on television. It was like a war. 1 have to stay in Osaka because that's where 1work, but 1'11corne back here every weekend to bring necessities for my family," he said. Satoshi Watanabe, 55, who was aboard the ferry with his wife and cousin, said he came from Nagoya to look for relatives with whom he hasn't been able to make contact since the quake. "1 don't know if we can find my relatives, but we brought water and food and other things for them anyway," he said. A group of three men from Mie Prefecture was trying to walk about 5 km from Harborland to Nada Ward, each carrying a backpack and bags in both hands. "My relative called us, asking us to corne and help. 1 was really stunned by this. It looks much worse than what 1 saw on TV. 1may visit here again next weekend," said Kazuo Konishi, 32. Kazutoshi Takekoshi, 30, visiting several work colleagues who live in Kobe, said he brought water, a portable stove and cIothes. "When 1 saw warehouses destroyed from the boat, 1 could tell how terrible the earthquake was that hit the city," he said. Many others rode motorcycIes from Osaka to bring relief goods for their relatives and friends as private cars are being kept off of National Routes 2 and 43, the only arteries connecting Osaka and Kobe. Kazuo Ujimori of Yao, Osaka Prefecture, came here with three others, each on a 50cc minibike loaded with water and other goods, to visit a colleague livingin Tarumi Ward.

know how many of our apartments are still



their breakfast

available," he said. Kazuo Tsuchie, 47, a shoe shop owner in the Motomachi district, said she opened her shop on Jan. 19. "1 open the shop for five hours a day," she said. "Some people staying at temporary shelters came to buy sneakers. " At Kobe Harborland, a restaurant owner whose diner in the Sannomiya district coUapsed, started seUing "bento" box lunches to passengers taking the ferry from Kobe to Osaka. "Because my house in Kita Ward sustai~ed only smaUdamage and water supply has started, 1 have made these bento to keep my business going," she said.


lapsed homes corne to pick up the sheets to build temporary sheds or cover items that they dug out of their houses. Others can't leave their collapsed homes because they Idao. 221 must keep their eyes on their items to prevent theft," Fujimoto said. About 2,000 people are currently staying Before dawn - The Hanshin region gets at the school where basic necessities are distributed and medical service are being its first Tainfail since the quake. provided by three volunteer doctors, she 11:37 p.rn. - The Meteorological Agency reports more than 1,000 aftershocks since said. The evacuees inc1ude 200 people staying the initial quake, with 105 of them strong in their cars or in tents on the school enough to be felt. grounds, Fujimoto said. "We can get basic things such as food Evacuees, relief workers and water here. The question now is not build sheds as rain falls basic necessities but where we will go. for first time since quake Even if the municipal government builds temporary housing, it's not for everyone," By SACHIKO HIRAO said Sukehiro Sakai, 55, a resident of Nada and AKEMI NAKAMURA Ward. Plastic make-shift sheds started emergSakai said that he was concerned about ing around Kobe, on school grounds and possible aftershocks. He said he heard on roads, as devastated city had the first rainthe radio that a big aftershock is anticipatfaU since the Jan. 17 quake. ed sometime soon. Some evacuees at Nishi-Nada ElementaWhile the victims of the killer earthry School in Nada Ward constructed severquake have been facing inconvenient and al sheds on the school grounds to secure insecure situations, some people in Kobe space for bonfires and cooking, as weil as have opened their businesses. to keep emergency items from getting A real estate agent employee in the Mosoaked. tomachi district in Chuo Ward said that he The Kobe Municipal Government disreceived three phone calls in 30 minutes in tributed about 10,000 plastic sheets to help the morning from people wanting to move people prepare for the rain. into new apartments immediately. A growing number of people are coming "We will re-open this office soon. But 1 to the evacuation center from the surrounding areas to get plastic sheets, said don't know if we can find apartments right away because we can't contact the owners Reiko Fujimoto, principal of the school, of real estate property and usually some which is serving as an evacuation shelter. "Some who stayed at their partly col- paper work is necessary. Besides, 1 don't




E lectricity, telephone restored for most of Kobe; many still don't have water Electric power and telephone services returned to normal for most of this earthquake-devastated city of 1.4 million people after five days of paralysis. But about 50 percent of the households in the city remain without water supply, according to the Kobe Municipal Government. Power has been restored in aUbut 15,000 households in the most seriously damaged areas.

Mass funeral

in Kobe




ldaH. 231

About 180 of the 440 elementary, junior and senior high schools in the area reopen. 2 p.m. - Murayama, in the Diet, says he is confident that the government took the best relief measures that it could. 2:05 p.m. - The Construction Ministry reports that the gravity measurement registered in Kobe surpassed that of the Great Kanto Earthquake, with the measurement in Kobe's Chuo Ward more than twice as high as the 1923 quake. 6:45 p.m. - The NP A reports the death toll at 5,002, topping the 5,000 mark.

M ounting piles of trash is the new problem plaguing Kobe By KENZO MORIGUCHI Since the massive quake devastated Kobe Jan. 17, citizens here have been suffering from a lack of almost everything. But there is one thing they do have enough of

- garbage. Piles of blue plastic bags full of trash are mounting on roadsides in the city's Chuo Ward, along with the de bris of damaged buildings and houses, broken furniture and broken glass. The Ochiai Clean Center in Suma Ward was the only one out of five Kobe incineration facilities that resumed operation. The A man walks across a section

others remain shut down, principally beAlthough the initial emergency trom the cause water and gas supplies have been Jan. 17 earthquake may have passed as halted. food and other supplies flood into Kobe, With three incinerators working, the crowded conditions and limited sanitary center is capable ofhandling a maximum of services in shelters are creating new health 450 tons of trash a day. problems. The city normally operates 311 vehicles Currently, 32 medical stations are operto collect about 2,200 tons a day in Kobe's ating in the city, 14 of them around the nine wards, a city officiai said. clock. But there are more th an 500 emerThe officiai said garbage trucks had re- gency shelters, stretching the limit of medisumed operations in four of the less-dam- cal personnel attempting to provide treataged wards as early as two days after the ment. disaster. So far, an estimated 59 medical teams To help dispose of accumulated garbage, including 156 doctors, 204 nurses and other 128 workers and 46 trucks from eight mu- officiais, have corne to the devastated city. nicipal governments started operations But the figures change daily as some volunhere Tuesday, the officiai said. teer doctors and nurses corne and go withBecause people in the hardest-hit areas out notifying authorities. are too busy securing their basic needs, Medical concerns have changed during most complaints about trash collection are the week since the quake. heard from those areas less affected or "When 1 first came here, most patients from the evacuation camps, he said. were suffering trom external wounds. But



ldaH. 241

9 a.m. - the Ground Self-Defense Force opens a temporary bathing facility for evacuees, providing the victims their first bath since the quake.

Crowded facilities, create new health problems for medical teams in Kobe By KENZO MORIGUCHI

of a road that collapsed



a subway


for the last few days, the main concerns of those coming to see me are things like flu, pneumonia and suppuration of those external wounds," said Yoshihiro Takashima of Osaka, who has been seeing patients in the Nagata Ward Office since the third day of the quake. Takashima, whose house in Osaka was damaged by the quake, is one of 40 the doctors from the Association of Medical Doctors for Asia who came to the area. He said that many victims are also suffering mentally from the shock of the quake, and that many who had suffered other illnesses before the quake are also coming for treatment. KIMIO IDA

He said he is advising victims to ensure they are getting ample nutritional intake. He is also worried that while many doctors are working hard at the moment, many volunteers may have to return to their hometowns before the homeless can move to temporary housing.



lJao. 251

The Kanjo (loop) line of the Hanshin Expressway is reopened, restoring one of the key transport arteries in the quake-hit area. Service is resumed on the JR Tokaido Line between Koshienguchi and Ashiya stations. 11 :16 p.rn. - A fairly strong aftershock registers 4 on the Japanese scale in Kobe, Nishinomiya and parts of Osaka. It was the 116th aftershock that could be felt since the Jan. 17 quake and the strongest to hit Kobe.

Payday brightens life for some in Kobe as late-night aftershock rocks H anshin About 80 percent of the companies in the Hanshin area managed to pay most of their employee salaries as scheduled, a sign that life is gradually returning to normal after the Jan. 17 earthquake. But the area is still plagued with the continuing fear of aftershocks. Late in the evening, Kobe was jolted by the strongest aftershock since the quake. ln Kobe, some companies whose computers and other facilities were knocked out by the temblor continued clerical work manually, trying only to make it to payday. Banks were crowded with people hoping to withdraw their salaries. "1 walked around for about 30 minutes to find a bank open. 1feel insecure without cash because no one can tell when a big aftershock may corne," said Keiko Yamaguchi, 36, at the Mikage branch of Sakura Bank in Higashi-Nada Ward, one of the most badly damaged areas. Even with salaries being paid, the future remains bleak for many people here. "Most shoe makers in Nagata Ward were destroyed and the company 1worked for suffered damage of more than \'1 billion. 1 think 1 may find myself without a

job," said Katsuyuki Tanaka, 29, who works for a shoe company in the ward. He said he wonders how he will manage in the future, adding that his wife is pregnant. Recovery of transportation and other infrastructure, however, was making progress. West Japan Railway Co. resumed its 6.3-km run between Koshienguchi and Ashiya stations on the Tokaido Line in Hyogo Prefecture early in the morning. The first train bound for Osaka from JR West's Ashiya Station, whose building collapsed in the quake, departed at 5:46 a.m. Wednesday. The station was crowded with workers lining up to go through the wickets at around 8 a.m. "l'm going to work for the first time since the quake. My house was heavily damaged. But 1can't ask for many days off to repair it since my company prepared a hotel room," a 54 year-old male office worker living in Osaka Prefecture said at Ashiya Station.

DAY 10

lJao. 281

Hanshin Dentetsu resumes operations between Koshien and Ogi, connecting Osaka and part of Kobe by rail for the first time since the quake. 7:13 p.rn. - The government convenes the Central Disaster Prevention. Council, deciding on a sweeping review of its disaster management policy for the first time in 24 years.

Colds, fiu running rampant; doctors struggle to cope with outbreaks in shelters By SACHIKO HIRAO Colds and influenza are rampant among people who lost homes and are living in shelters in the aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which rocked southern Hyogo Prefecture on Jan. 17, leaving more than 310,000 evacuees shivering in the cold. A Toho University te am from Tokyo has started to provide medical services around


the clock at Yamanote Elementary School, Chuo Ward, which is serving as a temporary shelter for about 1,800 people. "The number of cases of cold and flu far exceed other illnesses. Many people have symptoms such as fever, coughing and diarrhea. About 80 percent of those who corne in here are 50 years or older," said Rie Nakayama, one of the nurses, at a temporary clinic set up in the school's conference room. Two small electric heaters are the only source of warmth in the large conference room. "There was only one heater in the clinic. So'meone brought the other one from somewhere yesterday. We turned the computer room, next to the clinic, into a special treatment room because it is warmer than other rooms," said Hirosato Kikuchi, the leader of the team, which consists of five doctors and four nurses. ln the special room, two patients were being administered intravenous drips with the containers suspended from a coat hangeL The other half of the room, divided by lines of desktop computers, is for people suffering from flu. Several patients lie on thin blankets on the carpeted floor. Doctors and nurses regularly treat patients at 91 of the city's 598 temporary shelters, with round-the-clock service available at 30, officiais said. Doctors and nurses visit the rest of the shelters daily, they said. Demolition crews remove debris of a collapsed highway in Kobe KIMIO IDA

However, water and heat are still in short supply at most shelters. "My husband has a cold. So 1came here to pick up medicine for him. We stayed here because city authorities told us to leave our house, saying it is too dangerous to stay. But we can't sleep on cardboard and a couple of blankets on a concrete floor. It won't keep us warm," said a woman waiting outside the Yamanote clinic. "A nasty cold is around this year. Even healthy people could have it for over a month. Once people living in such conditions catch a cold, it could quickly get worse," Nakayama said. The best remedy for a cold is to eat nutri- Flowers of remembrance for lost classmates KYODO tious food, drink lots ofwater, keep warm and sleep weil, although none of these tween Osaka and other parts of western Mogi said it is difficult, even with current remedies are available at most shelters, Japan was reopened, seismologists re- technology, to predict when and where an Nakayama said. newed warnings of. a possible aftershock earthquake will take place. with a magnitude of up to 6 on the Richter Some elevated sections of the Chugoku scale. Expressway reopened in the morning, endThe independent Coordinating Commit- ing 10days of traffic chaos caused when the tee for Earthquake Prediction, meeting in Jan. 17 quake severed the key road link Idan. 271 Tokyo, said that while the frequency of between eastern and western Japan. aftershocks from the Jan. 17 earthquake The opening promises to ease at least The disrupted sections of the Chugoku has decreased, the ripples are expected to some of the confusion as the region continExpressway between Hyogo and Osaka continue for a while. ues its recovery efforts. prefectures are restored. "The possibility of a magnitude 6 class The reopened sections of the Chugok4 6:15 p.rn. - The Coordinating Commitquake occurring still exists, so precautions Expressway are between Yokawa, Hyogo tee for Earthquake Prediction renews its are still necessary," an expert told the Prefecture, and Chugoku Toyonaka, Osawarning that aftershocks of up to magnitude gathering of seismologists and disaster- ka Prefecture, and between Suita, Osaka 6 on the Richter scale could stil/ take place. prevention officiais. Prefecture, and Nishinomiya Kita, Hyogo More than 130 aftershocks have so far Prefecture. Damaged support pillars have been felt in the quake-ravaged area. Large aftershocks still been reinforced with steel beams. Kiyoo Mogi, chairman of the commitSpeed limits of 20 kph to 40 kph have feared; sections of Chugoku tee, warned people not to be disturbed by been imposed in the section between NiExpressway reopen rumors that predict the coming of the next shinomiya Kita and Chugoku Toyonaka, Just as the key transportation link be- big quake on a specific date or place. which was badly damaged. Express bus services on the Chugoku Expressway began, linking Shin-Osaka and Himeji. The services will continue until shinkansen services are resumed between the two points. The first Himejibound bus was delayed by more than six hours because of congested roads. A large traffic jam occurred in and on the approaches to the Takarazuka Tunnel in Hyogo Prefecture. On the Kinki Expressway, which links with the Chugoku Expressway, vehicles were backed up for a distance of 26 km from the Suita Interchange. The reinforcement of the pillars is still under way on the expressway. Japan Highway Public Corp. said it will increase speed Construction works begins on temporary housing KIMIO IDA limits as the reinforcement work proceeds.



15,000 rescuers launch final search for survivors

DAY 12

Idan. 281

More than 15,000 rescue workers fram Hyogo Prefectural Police and the SelfDefense Forces launch a massive search for the missing among the debris of the quakeravaged areas, finding six bodies by the eve-


DAY 13

Idan. 291

Prime Minister Murayama asks Finance Minister Masayoshi Takemura to study the feasibility of issuing government bonds to finance the reconstruction areas .

of the quake-hit

More than 15,000 rescue workers launched what was seen as a last-ditch effort to find survivors in the rubble of the quake-devastated areas of Kobe and other cities in Hyogo Prefecture, 11 days after the earthquake hit the region Jan. 17. By evening, the rescuers had recovered six more bodies in Kobe, adding to a death

Kosoku Kobe stations was opened by Hanshin Electric Railway Co. It was the first time since the Jan. 17 earthquake that the Sannomiya district, the quake-ravaged city center, was able to be reached by train. Data from employment security offices in Kobe showed that small and medium-sized firms in the quake-shattered Kansai region may dismiss some 4,500 employees, while another 120 prospective job openings could disappear, according to Kyodo News Ser-

DAY 14

Idan. 301

The vice governor of Hyogo tells the national government for speciallegislation to finance costs of rebuilding the quake-devastated city infrastructure, estimated at Y8.55 trillion.

DAY 15



As the evacuees grapple with cold weather, the Emperor and Empress visit the quake-hit areas to encourage people in temporary shelters. Hyogo Prefecture Gov. Toshitami Kaihara says the local governmeht will provide emergency housing for all people left homeless by the quake. The death toll reaches 5,102, with 12 still missing, but city officiais say the figure

could rise further as about 300 deaths have yet to be reported to police.

DAY 18



A shuttle service between Sannomiya and

heated shelters that lack sufficient medical services. Kazusuke Kobayashi, professor at the Chiba Institute of Technology, says pillars for elevated bullet train tracks damaged in the quake may have broken because builders ignored standard practices.

DAY 19 Top officiais




of the government

and the

ruling coalition parties decide to set up a headquarters within the government to


Sanyo Line fully resumes operation. Municipal kindergartens, elementaryand junior high schools in Nishinomiya reopen.

toll that has already topped 5,000, the worst loss oflife in Japan's postwar history. About 7,000 Hyogo Prefectural Police officers and some 8,000 Self-Defense Force troops were mobilized until sunset in the ali-out search in Kobe, Ashiya and Nishinomiya. Despite the daily efforts ofbetween 3,000 and 4,000 rescuers, no survivor has been found since Jan. 21, when a 74-year-old woman was rescued after being trapped under rubble in Kobe for more than four days.

DAY 17 Hyogo


oversee all efforts to rebuild areas devastated by the quake.


Prefecture suffered

Y9.5 trillion

in damages from the earthquake, an amount equivalent to about 13 percent of the fiscal 1994 national budget, the prefectural government reports. West Japan Railway Co. says a quakedamaged section between Shin-Osaka and Himeji stations on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line will be restored in early May, a month ahead of schedule.

DAY 18

DAY 20


The Construction Ministry, seeing the damage to subway tunnels that had long been regarded as safe from quakes, begins a full review of antiquake building standards for certain underground

DAY 21IFe~. IFe~.


The death toll from the earthquake rises to 5,243 as 139 people whose bodies were cremated without police inspection are added to the list of victims. Underlining the severity of life for evacuees, Kyodo News Service reports that at least 24 elderly survivors of the Jan. 17 earthquake have died from pneumonia or other illnesses after staying in evacuee shelters in the city. Doctors said that the deaths apparently stemmed fram weakened resistance to illness due to life in cramped, un42




The Kobe municipal government begins accepting application for "risai shomei" certificate, which will be necessary for the quake victims when they seek benefits such as contributions, ing, etc.

rent-free or low-cost hous-

The Kobe Municipal Government reports that a total of 94,109 buildings in the city suffered severe damage in the quake.

There were 54,949 completely destroyed buildings, while 31,783 others were partially destroyed.

SI8 slarr By TAKAHIKO UEDA Since the Jan. 17 Great Hanshin Earthquake, heavy criticism has mounted both at home and abroad that Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's government exacerbated the disaster by failing to adequately deal with the crisis. The massive death toll and property damage could have been reduced substantially if the government had been more prompt in launching search-and-rescue and firefighting operations involving large numbers of Self-Defense Forces members, and if traffic had been better controlled to allow in emergency vehides, critics contend. Many emergency vehides were caught in huge traffic jams involving private automobiles. Former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, head of the opposition party Shinshinto (New Frontier Party), lashed out in the Diet at the Socialist prime minister for lacking the leadership to coordinate disaster-relief missions. The Murayama Cabinet failed to fulfill a minimum responsibility of protecting people's lives and property, Kaifu said. But when Kaifu was prime minister in 1990, he, too, was widely criticized for being slow to respond to the international crisis triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. WhiIe the two crises differ, time has apparently failed to correct what is seen as weak leadership, bureaucratic turf wars, an absence of centralized coordination, a shortage of information and consequent government procrastination, which critics daim constitute the sorry state of the nation's crisis-management system. "Due to the government's incompetent crisis management, not only the lives of many people were lost but also the international community's trust in Japan has evaporated, because the prevalent myth

Quake exposes govemment' s weak leadership, petty bureaucratie turf wars and lack of crisismanagement




abroad that Japan's administrative system is efficient is now completely shattered," said Satoshi Morimoto, a senior researcher at Nomura Research Institute. "It is obvious that the nation has not learned how to effectively cope with national emergencies, despite a series of natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, and the GulfWar," said Morimoto, who as a diplomat witnessed first-hand the Kaifu government's atteIfipt at crisis management. Murayama admitted the government blundered in its response to the quake, as he told the Diet on Jan. 20 that because the disaster was his first such experience and because the temblor struck early in the morning, there may have been confusion. He later stated that the confusion was with local authorities, not with the central government. Officiais said the government's main mistake was that it fai\ed to grasp in the initial hours the full extent of the quake damage. "Nobody imagined that such a devastating quake could strike the Kansai region," a high-ranking officiai said, indicating the government was caught completely off guard. Murayama and Chief Cabinet Secretary Kozo Igarashi first learned of the temblor from television. Although Murayama was briefed by his secretary almost two hours after the quake that "the damage seems quite serious and extensive," subsequent reports were slow and fragmentary in the next few critical hours. "The government made a critical mistake in the most basic and important aspect of crisis control by failing to estimate the human and material damage in the early hours. Because it must have assumed the damage was not very serious, further responses were hindered at every step," said Koichi Oizumi, a professor on cri sis management at Nihon University. The government's information system - collection, analysis, assessment and dissemination - is not organized adequately to deal with large-scale emergencies, he said. Information on natural disasters collected by local authorities, police, firefighters and the SDF is not directly reported to the Prime Minister's Officiai Residence under the current system. Instead, it flows to the National Land

Agency, which on paper is tasked with supervising and coordinating government rescue operations in natural disasters. Not knowing the extent of the damage, the prime minister and top officiais at first seemed to let the agency take the initiative in the quake response, despite the agency not having its own informationgathering network or authority to issue instructions to other organizations, including police and the SDF. The agency's Disaster Prevention Bureau, which is primarily responsible for relief, is the smallest bureau in terms of personnel, with only 36 staffers. Many of the agency's officiais are also on loan trom other ministries, such as Finance and Construction. The agency said it failed to grasp the magnitude of the disaster because telephone lines in the Kobe area were disrupted, making it difficult to contact prefectural authorities, and because those officiais themselves suffered in the quake. The agency's disaster prevention wireless network does not have a linkup with prefectural authorities. Agency chief Kiyoshi Ozawa was dispatched to the area and returned to Tokyo to report to Murayama on his on-the-spot check almost 36 hours after the quake. The death toll had topped 2,000 by that time. Bureaucratie rigidity was also blamed for the slow government response, including critical delays in responding to international aid offers. Before accepting a specially trained tracker-dog team from Switzerland, the Health and Welfare Ministry reportedly insisted the animais be quarantined for a certain time as generally required. AIthough this was later retracted, the team's arrivai was substantially delayed. Morimoto of Nomura Institute said such ugly aspects of bureaucratie sectionalism and red tape are often exposed in emergencies, because under the current decision-making system, the prime minister has enormous difficulty centralizing power by usurping the role of competing ministries. "Because there are no established procedures or manuals stipulating who decides what in times of crisis, and since no organization plays a strong coordinating role, each ministry or agency takes its own 44

initiative, throwing bureaucratie actions into disarray," Morimoto said. There is also no effective system to follow up on orders, as demonstrated by the fact that many survivors in shelters did not know for a long time what relief measures the central and local governments had taken, he said. Some critics say the Social Democratie Party of Japan's traditional hostility toward the SDF delayed the dispatch of rescuers. It has often been said that prefectural and municipal worker unions, which have strong SDPJ connections, don't like cooperating with the SDF in disaster drills. Although Igarashi has dismissed this as ridiculous, some senior Liberal Democrat

ic Party officiais have said they think the SDPJ's past stance that the SDF is unconstitutional played a part in the tardy dispatch of troops. Traditional Socialist attitudes about the wielding of power also apparently played a part in the government's refusai to set up a special task force headed by the prime minister in accordance with Article 125 of the Basic Law of Disaster Response. The article grants the prime' minister wide authority, including control of economic activities, the SDF, police, firefighters and the Maritime Safety Agency. Igarashi said that under the current situation, such a task force, in a nationwide

disturbance, would give the prime minister too much power to restrict the rights of the people. To deal with national emergencies, critics say the nation should create a centralized organization un der the prime minister's direct command that can instruct in relief and reconstruction operations. "It is urgently important that a system be set up in which a single organization can make swift decisions by taking over, if necessary, the responsibilities usually reserved for ministries or local governments during national emergencies," said Oizumi of Nihon University. Such an organization should be modeled

People bring in relief goods for friends and family


after the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has centralized authority to coordinate rescue operations, aerial surveillance of disaster areas and financial assistance to survivors, he said. While educating and training personnel would be important to make a Japanese version of FEMA effective, crisis control skills and knowledge from the private sector are also necessary, he said. "Crisis management should not be stopped at the government level," Oizumi stressed, adding that everyone must deepen their ability to defend and help themselves and protect their lives and property.


Force rescuers

Caulhl on Guard

search for survivors


lnsufficient planning, outdated information-gathering system leads to delay, confusion in the SDF' s rescue


By REIJI YOSHIDA The Great Hanshin Earthquake has revealed apparent shortcomings in the information-gathering system of the SelfDefense Fqrces. According to many SDF officiais, the forces relied on TV updates for information in the initial stages of the disaster. Unless the system is improved, the delay and confusion in relief activities will be repeated the next time a major earthquake hits, some SDF officiais said. Lt. Gen. Yusuke Matsushima, who directed the rescue operations of the Ground Self-Defense Force, said he called up all available ground troops at around 3 a.m. on Jan 18. - more than 21 hours after the

earthquake hit the Hanshin area. "No information was available earlier to make me decide to call up all of the army troops," Matsushima, commander of the Chubu District Army Headquarters, told a Jan. 26 news conference. The first 48 hours of a disaster are considered crucial for rescue operations. The SDF, which by the beginning of February had its 16,000 troops mobilized, utilized only 2,300 on the first day and 9,500 as of 6 a.m. on Jan. 19, about 48 hours after the quake, according to the Defense Agency. Although the SDF dispatched helicopters shortly after the quake, their observations did not yield much information on the 46

degree of damage, SDF officiais said. If anyone had accurate information on how serious the disaster was, it was the local police, Matsushima said. But information did not flow in a smooth, orderly manner from police because of the SDF's lack of drills and experience in cooperating with police and local governments, he said. By the evening of the first day, as the police-confirmed death toll continued to rise sharply, Matsushima began to realize the gravity of the disaster. The number of deaths, which stood at 337 at 1 p.m., topped 1,000 by 5:45 p.m. "If we are unable to immediately recognize how serious a disaster is, the same

GSDF deployment on Day 1 of the disaster Source:



5:46 a.m.: Earthquake hits the Hanshin region 6:30 a.m.: The 10th and 13th divisions in Nagoya and Hiroshima and the 2nd Combined Brigade in Kagawa are put on special alert 7:14 a.m.: A GSDF OH-6 helicopter surveys Awaji Island 7:58 a.m.: 48 troops go to Hankyu Itami Station for emergency rescue efforts 8:20 a.m.: 206 troops go to Nishinomiya for emergency rescue efforts 10 a.m.:

The governor of Hyogo officiallyasks the SDF for help

10:20 a.m.: Three scouts dispatched to Ichinomiya, Awaji Island, aboard a UH-1 helicopter 11 a.m.:

Defense Agency sets up an ad hoc headquarters for relief work

11:02 a.m.: Three scouts of the 3rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion arrive on Awaji Island 1:10 p.m.: 215 troops from Himeji arrive at Nagata and Hyogo wards in Kobe 2 p.m.:

86 troops of the.2nd Combined Brigade head for Ichinomiya, Awaji Island

3 p.m.:

365 infantry troops leave Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, for Oji Koen in Kobe

4 p.m.:

83 troops of the 3rd AntiaircraftArtilleryBattalion leave Yao, Osaka Prefecture, for Awaji Island aboard four CH-47 helicopters

Relief troops were reinforced to 2,300 day (partial deployment) could be repeated if a big earthquake hits the southern Kanto region," a senior SDF officer said. According to Defense Agency sources, agency programs for coping with strong earthquakes in the southern Kanto or Tokai regions - the only such SDF programs - do not spell out how information would be gathered. Seismologists have long predicted that a large earthquake will hit the two regions within a decade. They expect the magnitude to approach that of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. According to the SDF plan for the southern Kanto region, in the event of a major earthquake, the GSDF would mobilize 22,300 troops of the Eastern District Army and the Maritime Self-Defense Force would dispatch between 40 and 62 ships for rescue missions in the early stages. But the programs do not specify how the GSDF and MSDF would gather infor-

mation necessary to judge the degree of damage. They also do not indicate how the number of SDF troops mobilized for relief activities in the early stages would be determined, according to GSDF and MSDF sources. "They just say that the SDF will exert 'every possible means' to gather information. No further details have been given," one of the sources said. Local and municipal governments carry out disaster drills an nu al-

ly in cooperation with police, firefighters and the SDF during Disasby the end of the ter Prevention Week in the beginning of September. However, apart from the approximately 2,000 SDF members who take part in quake drills for the southern Kanto and Tokai regions, only a smail number of soldiers participate in drills in the rest of the country. Last year, excluding the southern Kanto and Tokai drills, only about 1,200 GSDF members participated in drills, or an average of only 25 troops in each of the 47 prefectures, according to the GSDF. These drills are the only disaster drills the Defense Agency organizes with local governments. A third category of drills are carried out by individuallocal regiments and municipal governments on a smail scale, without involving the large number of local government officiaIsor police officers that would be necessary to cope with a big dis as-

ter like the Hanshin quake. By law, however, prefectural and municipal governments, and not the SDF, are 47

in charge of disaster relief programs. The SDF can only "assist" in relief activities launched by local governments, police and firefighters, according to the law. Local governments are responsible for planning disaster drills. "We can only participate if a local government invites us. We do just what we are asked to do in drills. Without the initiative of local governments, we cannot do anything," a senior GSDF officer said. Every year, the Hyogo Prefectural Government conducts disaster drills with a relief force of about 2,000, including firefighters as weil as members of the Fire Defense Agency, police, the SDF and other organizations. The city of Kobe, however, which suffered the most severe quake damage, did not invite the SDF to participate in its past annual disaster drills. According to a Hyogo Prefectural Government source who asked for anonymity, the annual drill did not include an exchange of information between police, firefighters and the SDF - a prerequisite, for mobilizing GSDF troops, in Gen. Matsushima's view. "Representatives (from the three parties) ail sat close to each other in the drill headquarters. Ali procedures had been decided on in advance. There is no training (for communicating among the three parties)," the source said. On Aug. 4, about 50 SDF members took part in the drill. SDF officiaIs also claim that many local governments have hesitated to invite the SDF because of the governments' tend ency to regard the SDF as unconstitutional. The earthquake also revealed the SDF's apparent lack of rescue equipment. The annual defense budget is ~4.7 trillion. But, apart from minor purchases including, for example , 1,000 radio transceivers for communicating with local governments and police, no money has been allocated for disaster equipment. Some SDF officiaIs say other ministries have ail the necessary equipment for rescue work. Others say the Finance Ministry will not allow the SDF to have equipment that is not earmarked for their main mission - national defense.

ISBN4-7890-0773-1 C0036P1000E


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Hanshin Jishin - Kobe 1995  

Le Grand tremblement de terre de Kobe en 1995. Organisation de l'information et des secours. Bilans matériels et humains.