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January 8, 2013

Expert: Japan a leader in disaster preparation and risk reduction; earthquake threat should not rule out Tokyo for 2020 Olympics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Tokyo as a possible host for the 2020 Olympics should not be ruled out solely on the basis of earthquake risk, said Julio Ramirez, chief officer of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

Japan is arguably the world leader in earthquake risk reduction, says Ramirez, a professor of civil engineering. He points to the satisfactory performance of the buildings and bridges during the 2011 East Tohuku earthquake.

"We wish other nations would build and retrofit buildings as well as Japan has," he says.

The most serious damage and loss of lives, he notes, came from the tsunami, not the earthquake. Currently, the lessons learned from the disastrous events are being distilled to improve the nation's resilience against tsunamis and earthquakes.

NEES, managed by Purdue University, is a distributed network of 14 engineering laboratories across the country connected by state-of-the art cyber-infrastructure. NEES is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Contact: Julio Ramirez, 765-430-7853, ramirez@purdue.edu