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Taking lessons from the major earthquake and tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of the Tohoku region five years ago, the national and local governments are pushing measures to reduce damage, both human and physical, from future disasters such as the dreaded mega-quake in the Nankai Trough and one directly hitting Tokyo. The steps include designation and construction of buildings where residents can find safety from a major tsunami as well as improvement of evacuation paths. The relevant parties need to check regularly whether these and other anti-disaster measures are adequate and update them where necessary.

The most vulnerable in the case of a major natural disaster are the elderly and disabled people. Kyodo News found that disabled people were 2.3 times more likely than others to fall victim in the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. In the 36 municipalities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures where residents died or went missing due to the quake and tsunami, 91,764 people carried physical disability certificates prior to the disasters. Of them, 1,495, or 1.6 percent, were among the immediate victims. Of 2,389,028 other residents, 16,941, or 0.7 percent, were killed or went missing.

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