The Shizuoka prefectural government is estimating that at least 567,000 people might need to be evacuated from their homes in the eventuality of a Mt. Fuji eruption. An additional 130,000 might also be affected should the lava flow reach the residential districts of Fuji City.
The numbers projection is part of an evacuation plan being prepared by the government from a hazard map prepared by the central government. The map is based on the previous eruption of Mt. Fuji in 1707. 10 separate zones have been identified at the foot of the mountain based on the expected lava flow and specifies evacuation zones depending on distance to the assumed crater. The Yamanashi prefectural government is also currently preparing their own evacuation plan and both plans will be finalized in April at a consultation forum, to be joined by the two prefectures, as well as the Kanagawa Prefecture and the central government. The target also is to have a joint evacuation drills among the three prefectures predicted to be affected by an eruption.
Scientists have been predicting an imminent eruption by 2015 of Japan’s highest mountain. According to Masaki Kimura, a professor emeritus at Ryukyu University, the volcano should have erupted during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but a four-year margin of error will run out by 2015. Experts have also observed rising “magma chamber pressure” which points to an imminent eruption, based on the last one 300 years ago, which was also preceded by a massive earthquake in Osaka a month before.
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