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More than 7,300 public school buildings in Japan face a high risk of collapse in a serious earthquake, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Though the number of potentially dangerous schools is down significantly from last year, earthquakes of upper-6 seismic intensity on the Japanese scale of 7 can still reduce thousands of classrooms nationwide to rubble. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.

The survey further noted that of the 125,000 public primary and middle school buildings checked, over 40,000 or 33 percent lacked sufficient seismic resistance in some aspect. That bureaucratese means that thousands of school buildings may collapse “only a little.” Despite a law requiring public disclosure of the results of seismic resistance tests, at least 320 municipalities have not done so. The procrastination, covering up and wishful thinking of officials at all levels must change.

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