Socioeconomic, policy, and planning aspects of the 2004 Niigata Ken Chuetsu earthquake

Robert B. Olshansky, Itsuki Nakabayashi, Kazuyoshi Ohnishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Niigata Ken Chuetsu earthquake struck a mostly rural and mountainous part of Niigata prefecture in Japan. Forty-eight people died, and 551 were severely injured. Over 100,000 people required emergency shelter, and nearly 3,500 households are living in temporary housing. The prefecture government has estimated earthquake damages at 3 trillion yen (about $30 billion), and at least 1,000 workers lost their jobs. The primary issues involve lack of access to rural settlements because of landslides, effects on elderly populations, and the long-term effects on the agricultural economy and lifestyle of the region. Because of extensive landsliding, many communities will also have to face difficult decisions regarding possible relocation or abandonment of their village sites. Based on the experiences of other earthquakes, it is clear that this process will take many years to resolve, and that much of the region will be permanently changed by this earthquake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S163-S175
JournalEarthquake Spectra
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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