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Mt. Fuji eruption scenario to be studied

The government’s Central Disaster Management Council will launch the first full-scale study of evacuation and other measures to deal with massive amounts of <1> volcanic ash that could fall in the Tokyo metropolitan area if Mt. Fuji erupts.

From this summer, the council will discuss ways to <2> forecast and announce the range and amount of volcanic ash fall and the establishment of ash-related criteria for beginning evacuations.

Since the 3,776-meter Mt. Fuji, which straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, took its current form about 3,200 years ago, there are said to have been seven large-scale eruptions.

In the Hoei eruption that occurred on the southeastern flank of Mt. Fuji in 1707, volcanic smoke is said to have reached as high as about 20,000 meters and volcanic ash <3> accumulated at a depth of more than 3 meters in areas around the mountain. It has been recorded that volcanic ash <4> piled up to a depth of more than 10 centimeters in <5> present-day eastern Kanagawa Prefecture, in areas including Yokohama and Sagamihara, and reached about 4 centimeters in areas around central Tokyo.

If a huge amount of volcanic ash falls on modern cities, it could land on electric transmission facilities. Rain could then cause <6> short circuits, which could lead to large-scale blackouts. Since operation of railways, aircraft and vehicles would become difficult, it is highly likely that urban functions would become <7> paralyzed. Some houses could also collapse due to the weight of the ash, and it would become impossible to use water and sewage systems for a long period of time. For these reasons, residents would need to evacuate.Speech

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