High-rise Refugees

A visible crack in the footpath in Koto-ku’s Shinonome area.

Tokyo’s bayside area, which has seen a boom in high-rise condominiums or “tower mansions” in recent years, is now considered a rather risky area to live since the March 11 earthquake. The earthquake caused land liquefaction and many elevators to stop working, resulting in a newly coined term for residents living on high floors – “high-rise refugees”.

“There was a lot of swaying. It felt like an amusement park ride” remarked a resident who lives in a 54-storey condominium in Koto-ku’s Shinonome area. “I still cannot forget the sounds made by the steel-frame of the building.”

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