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The shocking photos and reports of superstorm Sandy, which struck America’s east coast last week, were an important reminder that Japan’s coastal cities could suffer a similar fate. According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, many Asian mega-cities remain highly vulnerable to such storms. In that survey, New York City ranked 17th for risks from storms, while Tokyo ranked 19th overall.

Japan’s largest cities have dense populations and high concentrations of assets in coastal areas. In terms of assets exposed, Osaka-Kobe, Tokyo (including Chiba and Yokohama) and Nagoya are among the top 10 vulnerable cities in the world. That ranking is partly due to the relatively higher building costs and land values compared with cities in developing countries; however, damage from storms would be higher as well.

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