Japan city watches 'premonitory' signs for tsunami
AFP, Sunday 3 Jun 2012
Japanese government is planning introducing a tsunami warning system which involves looking out for abnormal behaviour in animals and monitoring water levels in wells for signs of an imminent disaster


A Japanese city is considering introducing a tsunami warning system which involves looking out for abnormal behaviour in animals and monitoring water levels in wells for signs of an imminent disaster.

The southwestern coastal city of Susaki is contemplating studying whether a rapid lowering of water in wells or chickens squawking loudly for no apparent reason are indicators of an impending earthquake and tsunami.

"They may not foretell a future disaster in a perfectly accurate manner, but the most important is to analyse such data thoroughly," said deputy mayor Yoshihito Myojin, according to a regional broadcaster late last month.

Over the years many tales about natural phenomena have been passed down as signs of an impending natural disaster in Japan, including abnormal movement of fish and cats fleeing their homes.

Experts warned in April that a 35-metre (115-foot) tsunami was in danger of hitting the Japanese coast in the wake of a massive earthquake as it revised its worst case scenario projections following last year's disaster.

The news came as Jiji Press reported that the Tokyo metropolitan government is mulling whether smartphones and car navigation systems can guide drivers during mass evacuations when the next big quake rocks the capital.

When the 9.0-magnitude tremor struck off northeastern Japan in March 2011, heavy traffic jams paralysed central areas of the capital, blocking fire engines and other emergency vehicles.

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