Nagoya castle warns structure could collapse in strong quake

The Nagoya municipal government on Friday took the unusual step of posting a warning to tourists that they enter Nagoya Castle’s tower structure at their own risk due to the building being in danger of collapse in a strong earthquake.

Three signs were installed within the castle grounds to warn of the risk of entering the multistory building, whose concrete is degrading and therefore lacks resistance to temblors, according to the city.

The idea of the warning signs came from Mayor Takashi Kawamura, who is frustrated with a lack of progress in restoration work due to opposition from the city assembly. The city is hoping to restore the castle’s tower, rebuilt in 1959 and which has two fish-like golden ornaments on the roof, with wood.

“If something happened, it would be the city’s responsibility. I’m angry” at the lack of progress, Kawamura said.

Unimpressed by the mayor’s move, an assembly member said, “He’s been this city’s mayor for years. Why call for (anti-earthquake) measures now? I’m amazed.”

The signs read: “After more than 50 years, the concrete and facilities are deteriorating. As a result, the main tower has insufficient earthquake resistant capabilities…In the event of an emergency earthquake alert or earthquake, please follow the security guard or staff’s instructions to evacuate.”

They continue that in the event of a temblor measuring upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 1 to 7, the building poses “a high risk of collapse or destruction.”

Sachie Yokoyama, a 68-year-old woman from Aomori Prefecture who visited the castle with her colleagues, said the signs make her feel a little safer. “If the city is going to rebuild the castle anyway, I hope they spend enough time building a sturdy one.”

The signs, which warn visitors in Japanese and English, were installed at the two gates to the castle and an entrance to the tower. The city is considering adding Chinese to the signs.


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