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1. Title

Earthquake Early Warning and its Application to Mitigate Human and Social Damages

ID: DRH 1 Earthquake Early Warning system in Japan.
Hazard: Earthquake , Tsunami

Implementation Oriented Technology (IOT)

Proposer: Hiroaki Negishi
Country: JAPAN;
Date posted: 07 January 2008
Date published: 29 September 2010
Copyright © 2010 Hiroaki Negishi (proposer). All rights reserved.

Earthquake Early Warning system in Japan.

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Hiroaki NEGISHI (Senior Researcher)
National Research Institure for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention,
3-1, Tenno-dai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0006, Japan
E-mail: negishi@bosai.go.jp

2. Major significance / Summary

By applying quick determination of epicenter and magnitude of an earthquake within a few seconds after its occurrence, we may be able to take urgent action to mitigate damages before arriving strong motion and/or Tsunami. Such information can save not only human lives (e.g., evacuation from crushing death cause by falling furniture), but also social and economic loss (e.g., to minimize defective units at instrument factory)

3. Keywords

Earthquake Early Warning (EEW), immediately before, alarm, automated control

II. Categories

4. Focus of this information

Implementation Oriented Technology (IOT)

5. Users

5-1. Anticipated users: Administrative officers , National governments and other intermediate government bodies (state, prefecture, district, etc.) , Commercial entrepreneurs , Financing and insurance business personnel , Information technology specialists

5-2. Other users: Motivated researchers

6. Hazards focused

Earthquake , Tsunami

7. Elements at risk

Human lives , Business and livelihoods , Information and communication system , Urban areas , Coastal areas

III. Contact Information

8. Proposer(s) information (Writer of this template)

Hiroaki NEGISHI (Senior Researcher)
National Research Institure for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention,
3-1, Tenno-dai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0006, Japan
E-mail: negishi@bosai.go.jp

9. Country(ies)/region(s) where the technology/knowledge/practice originated


10. Names and institutions of technology/knowledge developers

National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention,
Japan Meteorological Agency

11. Title of relevant projects if any

The Leading Project "Research Project for the Practical Use of Real-time Earthquake Information networks" by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and NIED, JAPAN

12. References and publications

Horiuchi, S., H. Negishi, A. Kana, A. Kamimura, and Y. Fujinawa, “An Automatic Processing System for Broadcasting Earthquake Alarms”, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, Vol. 95, No. 2, 708-718, 2005.

Negishi, H., and S. Yamamoto, Earthquake early warning system at a local government and a private company in Japan, Proceedings of 1st European Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Seismology, Paper No.741, 1-7, 2006.

Earthquake Early Warnings in Japan (Japan Meteorological Agency):

Research on the transmission and utilization of real-time earthquake information (“Endeavor research project” by NIED, 2002-2006)

13. Note on ownership if any

IV. Background

14. Disaster events and/or societal circumstances, which became the driving force either for developing the technology/knowledge or enhancing its practice

An all-Japan dense seismic network (Hi-net) was established after the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, and the development of the earthquake early warning system of a nationwide scale was conducted. Since EEW should be actually spread to the society, we need to investigate not only scientific side of EEW but also various kinds of applications using EEW information, such as automatic control unit, information distribution system to quite a lot of houses at the same time, and effective pictogram and sound for announce..


Figure 1. All-Japan seismic network used for Earthquake Early Warning system in Japan.  National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) are operating about 1,000 seismic stations with real-time telemetry. These real-time monitoring data is processed automatically.

V. Description

15. Feature and attribute

Just a few seconds after a big earthquake occurs, EEW system using a seismic network provide the information about the forthcoming strong motion (predicted intensity and time to shake). The information is provided to people by sound and pictogram to press a prompt evacuation action. Moreover, the machine operation with the possibility of harming the person is stopped, and the equipment of the factory is also stopped before the economic loss occurs due to product of defective goods by strong motion, made by the information triggering.


Figure 2. example of Earthquake Early Warning information broadcasted by our system. This event occurred in the offshore of Miyagi Prefecture, Tohoku, Japan in 26 May 2003. The rupture of this earthquake began at the depth of about 70 km, and 10.8 seconds after that the nearest station to the epicenter caught the P-wave. The first earthquake early warning information was sent momentarily at the time when P-wave reached the secondarily nearest station. As the result, we succeeded in giving a warning 10 to 20 seconds before the main shock hits to some major cities, such as Shiogama (about 13 seconds) and Sendai (about 16 seconds).


Figure 3. Example of displayed information on EEW system.  This window appear automatically just after receiving EEW information from EEW providing system via Internet, satellite broadcasting, or other kinds of communication line.  Not only display but also sound and voice information is also provided.

16. Necessary process to implement

The processes can be divided roughly to three parts;
1) introduction and operation of EEW information generation system by seismic network system,
2) infrastructure of the information transmission, and
3) the system that inform alert to people and/or that control equipments automatically.

 If dense and real-time seismic array already have been maintained and the communication network (e.g., Internet) is maintained widely, seismic network system is better for EEW since a lot of people and the enterprises can have the information at low cost.

17. Strength and limitations

1) The disaster mitigation effect is high because the alert provides before the strong motion and/or tsunami hits.
2) Since they know the earthquake information before the occurrence of network infrastructure damage, they can share important information and save and/or make back-up of their critical data. It is effective in the damage prevention of the business.
3) It is effective also in the factory that receives damage by the shake under operation.

1) It takes high cost for maintenance to put out EEW.
2) It is necessary to maintain the communication infrastructure in case of widely applying to a lot of people.
3) The education and the training to make it act promptly when the person is targeted are indispensable.

18. Lessons learned through implementation if any

During the pilot project by NIED (2002-2006), we had conducted the proving test for one local government (Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and one private company (Tokio Marie and Nichido Risk Consulting Co., Ltd.).  This test clarified that this information is to contribute to not only saving human lives, but also saving properties of governments and companies, important data on computer system, Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and corporate value itself (Society’s evaluation of taking anti-earthquake procedure). Please refer the attached paper (paper741.pdf) for details.


Figure 4. Information providing of Earthquake Early Warning in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa, Japan.


Figure 5. The outline of the Earthquake Early Warning System in Tokio Marine and Nichido Risk Consulting Co. Ltd.

VI. Resources required

19. Facilities and equipments required

A real-time telemetered seismic network as wide and uniform as possible is needed. One or two personal computers (CPU power and memory-size depend on the traffic of the waveform data) is necessary to process the telemetered data at the data center. The program source run on the PCs (Fortran 77) can be provided free of charge (contact to H.N.). The EEW information will be provided to users via network (e.g., Internet and/or leased line). A PC (windows) that calculates and display the predicted intensity and time-to-shake should be placed at each user. The specification is open to the public, and users can code programs for it by themselves, or get Windows software developed by NIED. The Japan Meteorological Agency (http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html) and Real-time Earthquake Information Consortium (http://www.real-time.jp/ ; Japanese) have disclosed a method of using the data in various fields and a content teaching to people (to our regret now only Japanese).

it is necessary to conduct the test operation for half or one year to tune the parameters of auto-process until stable operation. Sometimes false alarm might be given until operation is steady. It is better to have the data of ground amplification factor and/or the seismic data set (hypocenter, magnitude and seismic intensity at your objective place of several earthquakes) prior to its installation. However, even if those data doesn't exist, necessary data can be obtained with this device by the test operation for one or several years.

20. Costs, organization, manpower, etc.

Because it costs too much to establish a wide and dense seismic network only for this system, it is not realistic. Therefore, this is a method for the country that has already maintained a real-time seismological network. If such a network has already been maintained, however, a minimum system can be united only by buying some PCs stand for the analysis and a PC for the display and sound. If you would install the automatic control unit to your equipments, the additional cost for the unit should be needed.

VII. Message from the proposer if any

21. Message

VIII. Self evaluation in relation to applicability

22. How do you evaluate the technology/knowledge that you have proposed?

It is a technology/knowledge that has high application potential verified by implementation in various field sites.

23. Notes on the applicability if any

IX. Application examples


    E1-1. Project name if available

    Real-time earthquake disaster prevention system in LSI manufacturing factory

    E1-2. Place

    Miyagi Oki Electric Industry Col.Ltd., Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

    E1-3. Year

    Since 2005

    E1-4. Investor

    Miyagi Oki Electric Industry Col.Ltd.

    E1-5. People involved

    K. Yoshioka, President, Miyagi Oki Electric Industry Col.Ltd., Y. Fujinawa, Executive Director, Real-time Earthquake Information Consortium

    E1-6. Monetary costs incurred

    Because it costs too much to establish a wide and dense seismic network only for this system, it is not realistic. If such a network has already been maintained, a minimum system can be united only by buying some PCs stand for the analysis and a PC for the display and sound. If you would install the automatic control unit to your equipments, the additional cost for the unit should be needed.

    E1-7. Total workload required

    If real-time seismic network and information distribution infrastructure already exist, it takes about one week to setup PCs, install the software and tune-up and customize the parameters. Software installation and parameter tuning should be executed by the well-versed specialists.

    E1-8. Evidence of positive result

    Normal operation and effectiveness were shown at the earthquake occurred on August 16th, 2005. Please access the following PDF file for details on this project.

    Reference: Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) Disaster Mitigation System Protecting Semiconductor Plant


    E2-1. Project name if available

    Assistance of shelter action at earthquake and education on disaster in elementary school

    E2-2. Place

    Nagamachi elementary school, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

    E2-3. Year

    Since 2003

    E2-4. Investor

    M. Motosaka, Professor, Tohoku University

    E2-5. People involved

    M. Motosaka, Professor, Tohoku University, Japan
    Y. Fujinawa, Executive Director, Real-time Earthquake Information Consortium
    M. Saito, Japan Meteorological Agency

    E2-6. Monetary costs incurred

    This system used the information from the Earthquake Early Warning providing system (see No.2). Only one Windows PC (cheaper than 1000 US$) is needed. The software is provided from some commercial companies and institutions (please contact to Y.F.). The Internet fee is different according to the country.

    E2-7. Total workload required

    It takes only a few hours to install the software. Everyone who is versed in Windows-PC can set it up.

    E2-8. Evidence of positive result

    The student came to be able to take shelter in about three seconds by several-time training. Time from the occurrence of the Off Miyagi Earthquake to the shake of this place is estimated to be 16 seconds. Even if the earthquake occurs, the danger that the trained student injures is low.

X. Other related parallel initiatives if any


XI. Remarks for version upgrade


This contents was revised to focus on the EEW alert system on network warning materials, instead of both of on-site warning and network warning simultaneously in the previous version.  This is due to avoid the misunderstanding of the introduction methods and effects of EEW technology  (September 29, 2010).


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