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. Japan To Send Quake Warnings Nationwide

Japan endures about 20 percent of the world's strong earthquakes. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 03, 2007
Japan will soon start sending earthquake warnings to the public, giving them vital seconds to prepare before one of the country's frequent tremors strikes, a top seismologist said Friday. "We will start to offer the earthquake alert system to citizens starting from October 1," Makoto Saito, who runs the system at the Japan Meteorological Agency, told AFP. The system, the result of years of research, made its debut earlier this year but so far has been confined to major businesses and public utilities.

From October, the alerts will also be sent out via radio, television or public loudspeakers, which are commonplace in Japan, Saito said.

Telecom and Internet providers will also use the system to send out warnings, he said.

The system, which is already used to issue quicker tsunami warnings, can predict earthquakes seconds before they strike, prompting companies to develop a growing number of gadgets to alert people to an impending tremor.

The system works by detecting the first underground tremors -- the shear waves -- which come before the more dangerous primary waves.

While the warnings still give little time to prepare, meteorologists believe they can stop people from continuing dangerous activities and be valuable to railway operators and vulnerable sites, such as nuclear power plants.

Japan endures about 20 percent of the world's strong earthquakes. Last month a powerful earthquake northwest of Tokyo killed 11 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and caused a small leak from a nuclear power plant.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Typhoon Slams Into Japan As Quake Rock East Russia
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 02, 2007
A powerful typhoon slammed into southern Japan Thursday, injuring three people, disrupting air and land traffic and cutting power to thousands of houses. Packing winds of up to 126 kilometres (79 miles) an hour and bringing heavy rains, typhoon Usagi was moving north over Kyushu island after landing shortly before 6:00 pm (0900 GMT) from the Pacific, the meteorological agency said. The storm system, 160 kilometres across, was expected to veer into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) during the night and may dissipate there, the agency said.

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