Japan has learned key lessons from the 1923 earthquake that killed 105,000 people, but rapid growth of the capital has raised the stakes

The earthquake that struck the Tokyo region two minutes before noon on 1 September 1923 was so powerful that it destroyed the central weather bureau’s seismometers.

Over almost two days, fires triggered by household gas burners, chemicals and overhead wires raged through the wooden buildings of eastern Tokyo’s low-lying shitamachi neighbourhoods.

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