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

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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.


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Correspondence to Naoshi Hirata.

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Hirata, N. Past, current and future of Japanese national program for earthquake prediction research. Earth Planet Sp 56, xliii–l (2004) doi:10.1186/BF03353075

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Key words

  • Earthquake prediction
  • national program
  • quantitative forecast
  • the blue print
  • asperity