Earthquake Damage in Ishikawa, Toyama, Niigata Prefectures Estimated to Cost up to ¥2.6 Trillion

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Firefighters investigate damaged houses in the snow in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Jan. 7.

The Cabinet Office announced Thursday estimates of the total cost of damage in Ishikawa, Toyama and Niigata prefectures caused by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, at between ¥1.1 trillion to ¥2.6 trillion. Damage sustained by houses and other buildings makes up a large proportion of the cost.

The released estimates will be used to implement recovery and reconstruction efforts and to determine the impact on both the regional and national economy. The estimates may increase when more detailed results are obtained through future inspections.

The estimates were calculated with reference to reports on damage in the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake — for which detailed data on the percentage of damaged buildings and its connection to quake intensity on the Japanese seismic scale is available — as well as the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the 2004 Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake.

In the estimates, it was assumed that a maximum intensity of 7 was measured during the earthquake on Jan. 1, not intensity of upper 6 as initially reported, in Suzu and Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture. In these cities there are many wooden houses built in 1980 or before, when seismic standards for buildings were lower.

Among past earthquakes, the greatest amount of damage-related costs were caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, with estimated of up to ¥16.9 trillion. This is followed by those by the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, with estimates of up to ¥9.9 trillion.

Damage-related costs caused by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake are expected to be more similar in scale with the Kumamoto earthquake (up to ¥4.6 trillion) and the Chuetsu earthquake (up to ¥3 trillion). Simple comparisons of damage-related costs cannot be done due to differences in price levels and other factors.

The government has increased the reserve fund in its fiscal 2024 draft budget from ¥500 billion to ¥1 trillion in response to the Noto earthquake.