Sendai City announced on September 16th that they plan to prohibit any new construction or additions to existing homes in the coastal areas that are at risk of being inundated in a Tsunami over 2 meters high. The City plans to present the proposed reforms to the Diet by the end of this year.
The City said that a 2-meter or higher tsunami poses a very high risk of washing away homes. As such, approximately 1500 hectares of the city’s coastal areas including Miyagino-ku and Wakabayashi-ku has been designated as a disaster risk area. Up to 2,400 homes will be affected by the planned ban on construction or additions, and plans to move residents 1 to 2 kilometers further inland are progressing.
The affected area will be converted into parks and agricultural land including cycling tracks along the beachside zone. The City is also planning to construct a memorial to victims of the Tsunami.
Over 6,900 houses in Sendai City were destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. Houses further inland were affected by land subsidence and landslides, particularly houses built on hillside areas developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The damage to residential properties was estimated at 23 billion Yen (300 million USD).
Almost 2,700 houses in Wakabayashi-ku were either destroyed or swept away by the tsunami.
The City has made residential land available slightly further inland for residents of the affected areas. However, residents will have to purchase or lease the land while receiving some assistance with interest and moving costs.
Miyagino-ku was home to Japan’s second smallest ‘mountain’ called Hiyoriyama with a height of just 6.05 meters. It was reported that Hiyoriyama was destroyed through liquefaction and then by the Tsunami on March 11, 2011, although Japan’s Geographical Survey Institute has yet to confirm this.
The Asahi Shimbun, September 16, 2011
The Kahoku Shimpo, September 17, 2011
“Sendai’s Earthquake and Tsunami Damage”, The Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, May 2011.