Earthquake Prediction in Japan and the United States

March 1985 (VOL. 3, NO. 1)

Download this article

Major earthquakes were predicted on both sides of the Pacific in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, and the state of California, the United States, at roughly the same time. These predictions differ from those made previously in that (1) the location, scale, and likelihood in a given timeframe have been specified; (2) the predictions for both regions have been taken seriously by the governments; (3) there has been an unprecedented increase in earthquake concern among the area\\'s residents.\r\nIn the present study, the American and Japanese reactions to these earthquake predictions are compared in terms of earthquake policy and the impact on residents\\' lifestyles.\r\nConclusions are that (1) there is a major difference in the time, money, and energy spent on earthquake policy, Shizuoka being far better prepared than California; (2) Tokai earthquake policy is premised on the assumption of short-term predictability, but California policy is not; and (3) Shizuoka residents are ahead of Californians in earthquake preparedness, but public earthquake awareness is growing steadily in California, and should be considerably enhanced in the near future.