The July 5 editorial “Education on earthquakes” doesn’t say anything about education. This is yet another example of media hysteria and the lack of a sense of proportion.
Schools and other larger buildings are usually designed and constructed in accordance with design codes that require the designer to consider earthquake loads. Unless the schools have been designed by people without ethics, schools are in general much safer places than small residential houses.
Maybe as much as two-thirds of the Japanese population live in their own houses, of which many certainly have not been properly designed to resist earthquakes. I suppose that most children spend at least the same amount of time at home as they do at school. So, maybe it would be better to check the earthquake resistance of their homes.
Earthquakes of intensity 6 and 7 (on the Japanese scale) have hit Japan many times. How many Japanese children have been killed in collapsed schools so far? How many children have been killed in collapsed homes so far? If, as stated in the editorial, more than 7,300 public school buildings face a high risk of collapse in a serious earthquake, isn’t it a wonder that no serious catastrophes have happened yet?
If 100 people die in a train crash, then the media write about it for years. Yet, every year more than 5,000 people are killed in car crashes in Japan. If one school collapses and 100 children are killed, watch the uproar. Yet, the deaths of 100 children in collapsed homes, which easily could have been made sufficiently earthquake resistant had they been designed properly, would likely be viewed as the work of fate and nature.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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