Disaster panel sets numerical targets for river, ocean dikes by 2020

JIJI

A government-appointed panel discussing ways to boost Japan’s ability to withstand natural disasters called on Friday for promoting river and coastal dike construction to prepare for powerful earthquakes.

In its outline for the Action Plan for National Resilience 2017, the panel targeted areas thought vulnerable to major earthquakes expected from the Nankai Trough in the Pacific Ocean or in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

According to the action plan, dikes should be place to cover 75 percent of the vulnerable rivers listed by fiscal 2020, up from 42 percent in fiscal 2015, and sea dikes should be in place in 69 percent of coastal areas by the same year, up from 40 percent.

The numerical target for sea dikes was set in last year’s plan, but the 2017 plan will include the target for river dikes as well.

By establishing numerical goals, the government hopes to speed up addition and seismic reinforcement of dikes in regions predicted to take damage from large earthquakes.

The plan also eyes on installing Wi-Fi service in over 30,000 disaster response bases, including evacuation facilities, by fiscal 2019, up from 14,000 in fiscal 2016.

In addition, it aims to set up government councils consisting of national and local officials who will lead response measures in the event of a major flood in all vulnerable areas by fiscal 202, up from 37 percent of such areas in fiscal 2016.

The government plans to hold a meeting of the National Resilience Promotion Headquarters by early June to finalize the action plan.