Japan, as an area of the increased tectonic activity, has survived many devastating earthquakes and tsunamis during its long history. Earthquakes and tsunamis are natural phenomena that people are able to learn and predict, but unfortunately are not able to prevent today. Certainly, these natural disasters bring tragedies to many Japanese families, arousing most important costs - costs of human lives.
The worst earthquake, known as the Great Kanto Earthquake in the Japanese history, burst out in 1923 on the Kanto plain around Tokyo and took lives of over hundred thousand people. In 1995, there was a strong earthquake in the city of Kobe and its surroundings (Great Hanshin Earthquake) that killed six thousand and injured over four hundred thousand people and destroyed hundred thousand houses completely and nearly two hundred thousand partially.
It is not surprising today that Japanese people are always ready for such tricks of nature; there are special programs, aimed to teach people major methods of safety during earthquakes, while each family should always keep a survival kit, consisting of water and food for a few days, a flashlight, a radio and a first aid kit. In fact, the most important point of each safety program is to abandon your belongings and save your life not your possessions. Japanese also avoid placing heavy objects into places, where they could easily fall during an earthquake and cause an injury or block exits. It is also vital to have a fire extinguisher. They also may attend a special designated evacuation area in each neighborhood for the earthquakes' cases.
Tsunami is the same earthquake, but it grows from the bottom of the ocean or bursts out nearby, hence, producing a series of waves, absorbing the nearby and even more distant shores. The tsunami is both interesting and, on the one hand, a more awful phenomenon than the earthquake on its own, since it is able to cover more territories and bring more devastation. The tsunami is capable to spread over huge distances and lifting one massive wave after another, it washes out everything on its way. Only several minutes after the earthquake in the ocean, one part of the tsunami races toward a nearby land, growing taller as it comes in to the shore. Another part heads across the ocean toward distant shores.
For instance, the 1960 Chile earthquake produced a series of tsunami waves that crossed the Pacific Ocean. It reached Japan in a moment and people saved their lives only going to higher grounds in Onagawa, Japan. Devastating waves in Onagawa, some of which carried battering rams of floating wood, reached the height of fourteen feet. Such waves kept arriving for several hours. Elsewhere in Japan, the tsunami killed hundred and twenty two people, though in Onagawa no one died, probably due to the fact that many people went to high ground. Some arrived there as soon as the first large wave entered the town. They were alerted by the fireman Kimura Kunio. Mr. Kimura was on the early morning watch beside the town's harbor that day and noticed an unusual motion of the water.
Although earthquakes and tsunami are natural to Japan, they do not decrease the country's appeal to the tourists, at least, an earthquake can be predicted.