JAPAN, Earthquake Central

4 x 1 hour HD series
Expected completion: May 2010
A co-production between NHK and National Geographic Channels International


Rocked by a full 20% of the earthquakes occurring worldwide, Japan is by necessity at the cutting edge of earthquake research. For seismologists and planners at the frontline of disaster preparedness, the huge quake that hit the city of Kobe and its million plus inhabitants on January 17, 1995, is ground zero. None of them had imagined that a tremor of just 15 seconds would, in a modern city like Kobe, take the lives of 6,434 people.

Japan's seismologists and disaster preparedness planners were forced to rethink quake countermeasures from the day that the Kobe quake struck. The Japanese government poured an annual 60 billion yen into quake research for the first few years, and is still funding research to the tune of 20-30 billion yen a year. This investment has led to the creation of a seismic observation network that is unmatched worldwide, a network that is now shedding light on a wide range of phenomena occurring deep beneath the surface of Japan and contributing markedly to our understanding of earthquakes themselves. Risks posed by active fault lines and ocean-trench earthquakes are being quantified and addressed by various disaster countermeasures including improved quakeproofing of housing and urban planning that pays attention to such contingencies.

Focusing on Japan - the world's Earthquake Central - this documentary series explores the anatomy of earthquakes as revealed by the latest advances in seismology, and employs very realistic computer graphics to depict that threat posed by megaquakes already in the making.

  • Photo: MEGAQUAKE
  • Photo: MEGAQUAKE (1)
  • Photo: MEGAQUAKE (2)
  • Photo: MEGAQUAKE (3)