Head up, not down to survive tsunami

Sitting across from me at a Naka-Meguro pizzeria, Riccardo Tossani pulled out his iPhone to check his Spyglass app. He glanced out the window to survey the adjacent taller buildings, ignoring the cherry blossoms that were in full bloom.

“The only safe way to escape a tsunami,” said Tossani, “is up.” Our restaurant, in fact, was 11 meters above sea level, or four meters shy of the minimum 15-meter clearance he believes is required to avoid an advancing tidal wave, should it resemble the Tohoku tsunami of 3/11.

Although counterintuitive, if a tsunami was to strike Tokyo, you might well be safer on the top floors of a Tokyo skyscraper than anywhere else. Tossani should know: He is an architect, master planner and urban designer who researched the actions of those who survived and perished in Tohoku last year for the newly published “Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan” (Routledge). He and other experts in their field authored the book, which now forms perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of Japan’s triple disaster  (…… click to continue reading at The Japan Times).


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