A century ago, Tokyo faced a profound tragedy—the Great Kanto Earthquake, which claimed over 100,000 lives and reshaped the city. Disaster Prevention Day stands as a solemn reminder, with the government estimating a 70% chance of another major earthquake beneath the city in the next 30 years.

The 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe, which resulted in around 6,000 casualties, showed how even medium-strength tremors can devastate modern cities. Tokyo’s wake-up call came in 2011 with the Tohoku earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Japan. Though the capital saw relatively few casualties due to stringent building standards, the event unveiled potential vulnerabilities. Tokyo’s infrequent encounters with strong tremors may breed a false sense of security. The early-warning system, designed to provide advance notice before destructive waves hit, sometimes issues false alarms, challenging even the most prepared individuals. These alerts, though sometimes inconvenient, are a crucial part of a system prioritizing caution. The real danger lies not in structural collapse but in the potential for fire. Older buildings, constructed before rigorous standards were introduced in 1981, pose a greater threat. Modern hazards, like the rapid spread of rumors on social media, are less understood but significant. The breakdown of communication networks following a disaster further complicates the challenge. The centenary of the 1923 earthquake serves as a compelling call for all to reevaluate their emergency readiness. Geological realities do not follow human memory, and disaster risk remains a perpetual global concern.