In recent (December 2007) article and slideshow from Forbes.com ranks the top 20 most Earthquake-vulnerable cities in the world. Tokyo, Japan was ranked #11. Actually, a recent moderate earthquake (5.0) hit Tokyo on April 4 early evening – I was riding the subway train home, but my wife and son actually felt it in our high rise apartment unit. When I was young, I had felt several earthquakes living in Manila (ranked #5).
Kathmandu, Nepal ranked first in the 2001 study, followed by Istanbul, Turkey; Delhi, India; Quito, Ecuador; Manila, Philippines; and Islambad/Rawalpindi, Pakistan – all of which could expect fatalities in the tens of thousands if disaster struck. The only first-world cities on the list were in Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe. Fatalities in these Japanese cities were estimated only in the hundreds, not the thousands.
While in Tokyo, we are lucky to be living in apartment building that was designed to be one of the most earthquake-resistant building in Japan – see the figure below showing the effects of the “seismic damping walls” in the building.
Earlier this year, my wife had attended an earthquake drill and found that the whole complex is equipped to handle disasters (food, shelter, medical facilities, all earthquake resistant buildings in the complex, etc.) and is a place where people would go during disasters. Below is one of the pictures she took during the drill.