Tokyo wants all homes to meet current earthquake-resistant codes by the 2040s and has budgeted 9.5 trillion Yen (US$71 billion) to make it happen.

For detached homes, there have been several updates to the building code over the decades. The biggest one was enacted in June 1981, with buildings constructed after this date referred to as ‘shin-taishin’ for meeting the new code. Following the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, additional revisions were introduced in 2000 relating to posts and foundation joints for wooden construction. 

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government already provides subsidies for retrofitting buildings built before 1981. From 2023 onwards, the subsidies will be expanded to wood-frame houses built between 1981 and 2000, covering around 200,000 detached homes in the capital. 

In May 2022, Tokyo released an updated damage simulation in the event of an earthquake directly striking the city. In the worst-case scenario, up to 81,000 homes are predicted to be completely destroyed, with 3,200 related deaths. But, with additional retrofitting to homes, up to 14,000 homes could be completely destroyed with a predicted 500 related deaths. 

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun, December 23, 2022.