Japan: Earthquakes Moving South? Anxiety Builds in Kansai

This post is part of our special coverage Japan Earthquake 2011.

Just days after the massive earthquake which struck northeastern Japan, further geological tremors are taking place elsewhere on the island of Honshu. As a brief glance at the Yomiuri Shimbun's earthquake info log shows, a magnitude 6 earthquake hit Shizuoka Prefecture (located between Metropolitan Tokyo and the Kansai region) at just after 10:30PM local time on March 15. In addition, at roughly 3:30AM on the 16th, a magnitude 4 earthquake struck the Hida-Takayama area of Gifu Prefecture, a location northwest of Shizuoka. This series of quakes naturally has people living west of said areas feeling a bit nervous about what is to come.

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At this point there are no tsunami warnings or issues are nuclear reactors outside of the Tohoku region, but Twitter users in Kansai, the southern-central region of Japan's main island Honshū, seem to be a bit spooked. Here are a selection of tweets from the morning of March 16th.

@wakakei76: 昨夜の静岡地震の時に配偶者はさらりと「富士山噴火するかもねー」などと激しく俺だけを不安にさせたが、「このまま関西に移動していくかな?」と聞いたら「糸魚川あたりでとまるんでねーの。もしくはフォッサマグナで日本が分かれて海ができる」と結論が出たあたりで俺は猫さんで遊ぶことにした。

When the earthquake hit Shizuoka Prefecture last night, my partner nonchalantly remarked, “Mt. Fuji might just erupt, huh?” subsequently making just myself incredibly uneasy. First pondering, “at this rate I wonder if it's headed to Kansai?” and then right around the point she started reaching a conclusion, “probably stopping somwhere around Itoigawa, or maybe Japan will simply split apart along the Fossa Magna,” I decided it would be best to spend some time playing with the cat.

@althis_asuka: 食料品とか買い込みする人がいなきゃ今まで通りが可能。それが関東や関西です(茨城さんだけちょっと凄い大変そうですが)。そもそも水道ひねって→飲める水が出る って事そのものが世界的に恵まれてる→この大地震後でも世界的に恵まれてますからね。自覚すれば余裕が有ります

Were folks not buying up food supplies and whatnot, things would be the same as ever around here. That would be around the Kansai and Kanto areas (though it looks to be pretty rough for the folks in Ibaraki). After all, if you go to turn the faucet drinkable water still comes out – we're lucky to have the resources that we do, and that applies post-quake as well. In realizing this it's easier to see we're still in a good position.

@toshiwo: 今回の地震、宮城県沖から南下して東京湾の次は静岡かー。関西の方も用心しておくべきなのかも?

So these quakes are moving south from Miyagi through Tokyo Bay, on to Shizuoka Prefecture… I wonder if folks in Kansai should start getting themselves prepped?

@axexlll: 今度は岐阜県か…だんだん地震南下してきてる? 余震が続いてる所もそうだけど、きてない関西とかもいつ来るかわからないから寝れないなぁ

‘Pray for Japan’ image from Instagram, in a list compiled by Naver user Jorker

Now it's Gifu Prefecture… meaning the quakes are gradually moving south? Certainly there are spots facing fears of continued aftershocks, but in as-yet unscathed Kansai, I can't sleep fretting about when it might strike…

@hirock_arnett: 正直、関西にも大地震が来たらと考えると、胸が破裂しそうなくらい怖い。西の空が赤いとか、月が接近してるとか、そんな科学的根拠のない予兆にさえ怯えてしまう始末。でも、そんなんじゃダメだって思うから、なるたけポジティブでいたいと思う。こんな不安な春は初めてだ…。

Honestly, just thinking about “what if a big one hit Kansai?” my chest feels like it's about to be torn apart with fear. It's to the point where I'm getting scared by things like a red sky in the west, or the moon drawing closer… despite such omen having no scientific base to them. In feeling that I just can't go on in this way, I'd like to be as positive as I can. Such an anxious spring has gotta be a first…

In reading tweets out of that area, despite there being no substantiated data with regard to any risks in Kansai, one can't help but feel a little uneasy. Fortunately, a number of users are thinking clearly and seeking others do the same.

@toki____onohara: 私は地震について思う事は「RTしない」事だと。こういう時は冷静に冷静に。拡散した誤ツイで、酷いようですが千羽鶴や写真がどうなるんですか?関西は東京の友人達を見ましょう。

What I'm feeling when it comes to this earthquake is… don't retweet! In times like this it's all about being calm. As erroneous tweets spread things can sure look bad, but what's happening with the folded cranes and photos? Let us in Kansai look to our friends in Tokyo.

@b_sk063: テレビだけが情報源の幼馴染から「静岡まで地震来てる…関西も危ないよね…?もう心配で寝れない…原発もアレ危ないんでしょ?」ってメールきた。メディアの影響って大きいんだなやっぱり。ツイッターだと付属の情報も入ってくるからやっぱ必要なんだな。

Mail from an old pal whose only source of information is the TV news: “earthquakes coming as far as Shizuoka Prefecture… now Kansai's starting to look a bit risky isn't it? Worried, having trouble getting to sleep… and what about those nuclear reactors?” The media is pretty darn influential huh… it seems Twitter, with its steady flow of extraneous info really is a necessity after all.

Beyond that, some reassurance can be found in Kansai as Makoto Yagi, president of Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), announced his desire to take a proactive stance considering the possibility of similar nuclear accidents arising in Kansai:

@RepublicOfOsaka: [関西]関西電力 原発の地震・津波対策を強化へ:  東日本大震災による東京電力・福島第一原発の事故を受けて、関西電力は、原発の地震・津波対策を強化する考えを明らかにしました。http://bit.ly/g7Z2hS

KEPCO moves to strengthen nuclear plant earthquake/tsunami counter-measures: in the wake of the disastrous earthquake in northeastern Japan, and the subsequent issues at TEPCO's Fukushima #1 nuclear power plant, KEPCO has announced plans to strengthen its response in the event of an earthquake and/or tsunami in the region. http://bit.ly/g7Z2hS

This post is part of our special coverage Japan Earthquake 2011.

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