Most people don’t plan to reinforce their homes against quakes: survey

Around half of respondents in a recent Cabinet Office survey have said they do not plan to make their homes quake-resistant.

About two-thirds of the respondents said they want the central and local governments to extend low-cost loans or provide tax breaks for building quake-resistant houses, prompting a Cabinet Office official to attribute people’s unwillingness to prepare for quakes mainly to their reluctance to spend money for reinforcements.

Some 48.7 percent of the 2,125 respondents said they do not intend to reinforce their houses, while 24.9 percent said they do.

Some 8.6 percent said they would build new houses or move to other places instead of reinforcing their current residences.

The respondents were told before answering the survey questions that roughly 30 percent of the 44 million houses in Japan would not withstand an earthquake of similar magnitude to the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which flattened the port city of Kobe on Jan. 17, 1995.

The majority of respondents, 54.4 percent, responded that they already knew that, the official said.

The official said that 54.4 percent of the pollees also knew that more than 80 percent of the 5,500 people killed outright in the Hanshin quake died when houses and buildings collapsed.

The official said there is a need to raise public awareness to prepare for big earthquakes.

The government conducted the nationwide survey of people aged 20 or older between Aug. 12 and 22.