A meeting of disaster prevention experts have recommended drawing up a plan to evacuate those who would be affected by an eruption of Mount Fuji.
Specialists from Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures held a conference on Friday at which they agreed to draw up a plan for sheltering people who may be affected by a potential eruption of the 3,776-meter-high mountain and to perform a test run of the procedure by 2014, TBS reported.
The plan is to include evacuation methods and routes for residents and tourists in the event of an eruption. Each team is to reflect on the efficacy of current arrangements and report back to the council at the next meeting, which is scheduled to take place in late April 2013 in Yamanashi Prefecture, TBS said.
Also in attendance at the conference were volcano experts who spoke on the subjects of Mount Fuji’s history, the reliability of volcanic eruption predictions and the likely characteristics of an eruption.
Prof Toshitsugu Fujii of the University of Tokyo Earthquake Research Institute said last year’s March 11 earthquake transformed the Earth’s crust in the region and another earthquake is expected to hit in the Nankai trough, TBS reported. He was quoted as saying there is a high probability that this tectonic activity will cause Mount Fuji to become more active.
A survey carried out by the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute in May found a 30-km fault running from Gotemba in Shizuoka Prefecture beneath Mount Fuji. Research results indicated it is likely to be active.
If the fault sets off an earthquake, researchers say the slopes would most likely collapse, causing massive landslides and mudflows.
An earthquake in 1707 caused Mount Fuji to erupt and killed an estimated 20,000 people.