Train lines to be reinforced by ’17

Kyodo

Japan hopes to reinforce railways in areas threatened by strong earthquakes by fiscal 2017, according to a draft disaster preparedness plan obtained by Kyodo News on Monday.

Efforts to make railways more quake-resistant are part of a nationwide plan filled with numerical targets for strengthening infrastructure against natural disasters, the draft said.

Every year, the government will check on the progress that has been made and report the results to the public.

Japan intends to reflect these measures in the fiscal 2015 budget and taxation revisions.

Under the draft, the government also aims to raise the number of quake-resistant homes to 95 percent by 2020 from 79 percent in 2008, sources said.

As for strengthening the railways, the draft said that by fiscal 2017, the government will make bridges and tunnels strong enough to withstand earthquakes measuring 6 or higher on the Japanese seismic intensity scale to 7.

As of fiscal 2012, 91 percent of bridges and tunnels along railway lines handling more than 10,000 commuters daily were bolstered against such quakes.

The government will help the railways shoulder the cost of reinforcing their structures and tell them which areas should be improved.