National treasure Matsumoto Castle needs stronger quake resistance

2017.05.19 | Nagano

Undated file photo shows Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan. Matsumoto city officials, where the castle is located, said on May 18, 2017, that the national treasure is more vulnerable to earthquakes than previously thought and requires strengthening work to improve its quake resistance. (Kyodo)

Matsumoto Castle in central Japan is more vulnerable to earthquake than previously thought and requires work to strengthen its resistance, officials of the city where the national treasure is located said Thursday.

A recent earthquake resistance test has found that the castle's main tower could fall in the event of a quake measuring upper 6 or stronger on the Japanese seismic scale of 7, according to the officials of Matsumoto city's education board.

The test results showed the resistance levels at some parts of the main tower, or tenshu, are insufficient if the castle is hit by a quake of this scale -- nearly as powerful as the one that triggered a catastrophic tsunami in northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.

The city in Nagano Prefecture will begin working shortly on enhancing quake-resistance structures of the castle and improving evacuation plans involving the major sightseeing spot.

Matsumoto Castle, which is believed to have been built more than 400 years ago, drew about 990,000 visitors in fiscal 2016 through last March. The last large-scale repair and maintenance work on the castle was conducted in 1950-1955.


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