Shizuoka – The city of Atami failed to order a company responsible for creating a soil mound that triggered a deadly mudslide in July to implement safety measures, even though it had prepared the order, sources said Monday.
The Atami Municipal Government in Shizuoka Prefecture prepared the order for the company, based in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 2011.
The Shizuoka prefectural and Atami governments had repeatedly issued administrative guidance to the company, but the local governments failed to take the tougher measure of issuing the administrative order for over 10 years, the sources said.
The land where the soil mound was created was acquired by the company in 2006. It started carrying in sand and soil for the work in 2009.
The soil mound is estimated to have been around 50 meters tall before collapsing and triggering the mudslide. It was triple the planned height of 15 meters stated in an application for the work filed with the Atami government.
After consulting the prefectural government, Atami in June 2011 prepared an order for the company to implement disaster prevention measures, based on a prefectural ordinance, leaving the date of the order blank.
The prepared order included a warning that the soil mound could collapse or slip away, causing a disaster. The city had also asked for an explanation from the company.
Atami did not issue the order as the company started disaster prevention work at the soil mound, including the establishment of a provisional drainage gutter.
The mudslide, which followed heavy rain, left 26 people dead and one missing. A total of 132 buildings were also damaged.
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