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. Japan Tightens Building Rules After Quake Scandal
Japan, which experiences 20 percent of the world's major tremors, prides itself on strictly enforcing quake-proof infrastructure.
Japan, which experiences 20 percent of the world's major tremors, prides itself on strictly enforcing quake-proof infrastructure.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 13, 2006
Japan on Wednesday toughened certification rules for architects to ensure that buildings can withstand earthquakes, following a data falsifying scandal that shocked the tremor-prone country. The upper house passed the revised law, which was earlier approved by the lower house. The measures will come into force within two years, a land ministry official said.

Under the new laws, an architect will need to have five years experience to be certified as a "first-class" structural architect.

Only such architects will have the right to design buildings that are more than 20 meters (66 feet) or three storeys high or with floor space of more than 5,000 square meters (53,800 square feet). Previously, architects needed only certification and there was no minimum timeframe for experience.

Japan, which experiences 20 percent of the world's major tremors, prides itself on strictly enforcing quake-proof infrastructure.

But it was shaken last year after architect Hidetsugu Aneha admitted falsifying earthquake resistance data for some condominiums and hotels around Japan. He pleaded guilty to charges in September.

The government came up with an eight billion-yen (66 million-dollar) bailout plan to help residents move out of condominiums designed by Aneha.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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