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INTERNATIONAL

In Case of Emergency: Japan Discusses Plans to Build ‘Backup Tokyo’

via Nick Carbone, TIME

Japan can build anything, right? How about making a second Tokyo? It’s Japan’s business hub, capital, and largest, most densely populated city. But it sits on the tumultuous Ring of Fire.

Tokyo was forced to face a stark reality earlier this year when a double-whammy 9.0 earthquake and tsunami rocked a region located mere hours north. Tokyo shook moderately in the March 11th quake, recording a magnitude in the high 5s. But the quake served the city a dose of humility – what if a disaster hits the crucial business and political center that’s home to nearly nine million people?

An October meeting of high-ranking Japanese politicians showed how fearful they are of a similar quake hitting Tokyo. The parliament members birthed the idea of creating a backup Tokyo – what they referred to as a “substitute capital.” “The idea of being able to have a back-up, a spare battery for the functions of the nation, isn’t this a really good idea?” Hajime Ishii, a member of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party, asked as he unveiled the plan.

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