Cities that were hit hard by the powerful earthquake that jolted central Japan on New Year’s Day had more old houses than other municipalities, a Kyodo News survey showed Friday, highlighting the vulnerability of older dwellings in the quake-prone country.

In Suzu, located on the tip of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, 65% of residences were built before 1981 when the country's seismic standards were significantly upgraded to be able to withstand powerful temblors.

The ratios of such homes were also high in two other adjacent municipalities in the peninsula — the town of Noto and Wajima city — at 61% and 56%, respectively, based on the survey that looked into 1,086 cities, wards, towns and villages across the country for which relevant data were available.