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Deadliest Quake Since 1995

Monday, October 25, 2004 Posted: 08:28 AM JST [PHOTOS]

The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, as it is now officially called, has become the deadliest earthquake in Japan since the terrible quake around Kobe in 1995 that killed more than 6,000 people. The number of fatalities now stands at 25 with more than 2,400 people injured. Some 97,800 people have been evacuated.

The acceleration of the Niigata Choetsu Earthquake was actually faster than during the Kobe quake. The number of fatalities in Niigata is so wonderfully low because the area is sparsely populated and because of sheer luck. Every passenger on the derailed Shinkansen bullet train escaped unharmed. Simply because the train didn't happen to be on a curve, it was old and therefore 50 percent heavier than new models, it didn't fall over, few passengers sat on the first carriage, there were few passengers so all of them were able to sit down and there was no train from the opposing direction.

In spite of the terrible destruction, Niigata is one lucky prefecture.

Keywords: national_news national disaster

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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