Wakayama eyes email tsunami alert


The Wakayama Prefectural Government plans to launch an email warning system that can send messages to residents of the prefecture instantly when tsunami threaten.

The text messaging services will carry information detected by earthquake and tsunami sensors being built by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC, underwater in the Nankai Trough, it was learned Monday.

The trough is a possible epicenter of simultaneous quakes hitting the Tokai, Nankai and Tonankai central and southwestern regions.

The move by the prefectural government is designed to provide Wakayama residents with epicenter information on an earthquake and tsunami for early evacuations.

The prefectural government, Japan’s first organization to use data from JAMSTEC for tsunami evacuations, aims to put the system into practice in fiscal 2013, which begins in April.

The Nankai Trough lies off the Pacific coast between Suruga Bay off Shizuoka Prefecture and areas off Kyushu.

JAMSTEC has already installed 20 sensors in its DONET system in areas reaching as far as some 130 km off the southeast of the Kii Peninsula. DONET is able to detect earthquakes and tsunami in real time and calculate immediately how long it will take for tsunami to reach land, as well as the height of tsunami, because the sensors make direct calculations at the area of the epicenter.