Over 200 people have died in floods and landslides triggered by the recent torrential rain in western Japan in July 2018.
It is the highest death toll caused by rainfall that Japan has seen in more than four decades.
In Japan, 1300 municipalities released the hazard maps.
They namely pinpoint locations at risk of floods or landslides.
There was a time when the disclosure of hazard information raised many eyebrows as fanning people’s fears and lowering property values.
But after we saw the recent worst flooding disaster in west of Japan in four decades, this is no longer the case.
In the Mabicho district of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, the flooded areas reportedly corresponded exactly to what the hazard map showed. To date, more than 40 bodies have been recovered from severely flooded residential neighborhoods, now blanketed with mud.
Please see the map released by Kurashiki city officials.
(I commented in red on pdf file to show the hospital called ‘Mabi-kinen hospital’ which has been repeatedly broadcasted on TV)
As you can see, the hospital is located in the area where 5 meters or higher of flood could potentially hit.
And the hospital was severely damaged by the recent flood.
The municipality of Kurashiki claims to have distributed a hazard map to all households. But one of the medias quoted a resident as saying,
“I didn’t know about that.”
Hazard maps are distributed by local governments now, and can also be seen on the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s website.
In Tokyo, Arakawa Ward revised the hazard map in 2016 based on the fact that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced the flood assumption when the largest flood in Arakawa occurred.
The official estimate that of the 115,000 households in the ward, 90,000 households could suffer flooding damage of up to 5 meters or more.
I know we don’t pay much attention in our daily lives, but perhaps some people are now wondering if they already have a hazard map at home, and are starting to look for it.
How to avoid the severe flooding ?
Don’t live in the dangerous area. Don’t buy the property in the high risk area.
Sound too obvious ? You are not a tree, if your property is under the serious risk, move.
This is the best and safest strategy.
As I mentioned earlier, the flooded areas corresponded exactly to what the hazard map showed in Mabicho’s case.
Check the hazard map released by the local governments.
1300 local governments released the hazard maps.
Hazard map information by MLIT
Check the old maps.
The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) is the national organization that conducts basic survey and mapping and instructs related organizations to clarify the conditions of land in Japan. They provide the historically old maps such as a map in Taisho era and before the war)
You need to be especially careful about the properties if they used be ponds/rivers and reclaimed.
Those are usually vulnerable to flooding.
The lot where you can find very old temples and shrines is regarded as safer land as these historical properties survived all sorts of natural disasters over the centuries.
Tokyo Metropolitan 23 wards and other municipals hazard maps.
Tokyo Metropolitan hazard map
Other Helpful Articles
Lastly, my condolences to the victims of the flash floods and landslides in western Japan.
Real estate investing consultant and author.
Founder of Yamamoto Property Advisory in Tokyo.
International property Investment consultant and licensed
real estate broker (Japan).
He serves the foreign companies and individuals to buy and sell
the real estates in Japan as well as own homes.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from
Osaka Prefecture University in Japan
and an MBA from Bond University in Australia
Toshihiko’s book, “The Savvy Foreign Investor’s Guide to Japanese Properties: How to Expertly Buy, Manage and Sell Real Estate in Japan”is now out on Amazon, iBooks (iTunes, Apple) and Google Play.
About the book