Earthquake Resistant Architecture in Japan : How Individual Earthquakes Push New Anti-Seismic Laws and Regulations into Existence
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The high levels of seismic activity that occur in Japan, have, over hundreds of years, led to the development of specific building laws and regulations seen in Japan today. This essay will discuss the history of seismic engineering and the common types of earthquake resistant architecture in Japan today. I will go over each major modern earthquake that had impact on the field and explore how each seismic event impacted the laws and regulations for building standards as they relate to the anti-seismic capabilities of structures we see in Japan as of January 2020. Including, very briefly, the lesser known Fukui, Niigata, and Tokachi-oki earthquakes. First, I will go over the geographical and geological background needed to understand the reason behind Japan’s many earthquakes as well as the ways earthquakes are measured today. I will then discuss the history of earthquake resistant architecture and earthquake engineering and the earthquakes themselves. Lastly, I will discuss the evolution of laws and regulations that the Japanese government currently has in place to police seismic construction requirements in structures. The aim of this paper is to explore how as each major earthquake happens, highlight the shortfalls of the current technologies and discuss the real need for advancement in seismological research. With each new large seismic event, the Japanese government creates new laws or refines existing ones that pertain to the latest anti-seismic technology. This ongoing reassessment of building construction technologies serves to protect public health and economic status as well as maintain the stability and safety of buildings in Japanese cities.