TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 56 (No. 8), pp. xliii-l, 2004

Research News

Past, current and future of Japanese national program for earthquake prediction research

Naoshi Hirata

The Earthquake Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan

(Received December 11, 2003; Revised August 8, 2004; Accepted August 9, 2004)

Abstract: The Japanese national earthquake prediction program started in 1962 with a blue print for the scope and direction of research to follow. Substantial time and efforts were subsequently devoted to the construction of new observation networks and the study on the earthquake generation mechanisms. An important result has been the recognition of the great difficulty in identifying creditable precursors due to a diversity of earthquake generation process. In recent years, a new age of near real time observations of Earth's crustal processes by dense arrays of seismic and the GPS (Global Positioning System) stations has arrived. The results of the real time monitoring may lead to a new approach in the earthquake prediction research, i.e., the quantitative forecasting of the crustal activities. The new national program, which inherits its essential observational network from all the previous programs, emphasizes the importance of modeling as well as monitoring for a sound scientific development of earthquake prediction research.
Key words: Earthquake prediction, national program, quantitative forecast, the blue print, asperity.

Corresponding author E-mail: hirata@eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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