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7.3-magnitude earthquake possible in South Korea, says expert

Staff Writer |
South Korea needs to set up a contingency plan in preparation for a possible 7.3-magnitude earthquake, a local expert said.

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In a seminar arranged by the Federation of Korean Industries, Lee Kie-hwa, a professor at the Seoul National University's College of Natural Sciences, advised the country to prepare in advance for a big quake.

"There might be an earthquake in any areas adjacent to Pohang and Gyeongju hit by earthquakes with magnitudes of over 5.0 in the past two years. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake could take place," the professor warned at the seminar.

FKI Vice Chairman Kwon Tae-shin called on the government to benchmark Japan's construction technology and know-how in terms of preparations for an earthquake before drawing up a comprehensive plan to cope with an earthquake and continue business operations even after a natural disaster.

As for companies, he advised them to upgrade their production facilities so as to make them less vulnerable to big earthquake and minimize any fallout, the FKI said in a statement.

Osamu Hosozawa in charge of planning at Taisei Corp., Japan's biggest construction company, said Tokuo makes it obligatory for public buildings to be earthquake-resistant. The government offers subsidies in earthquake-resistant construction projects, it said.

South Korea has long been regarded as an earthquake-free country but the latest quakes in Pohang and Gyeongju, located in the southeastern part of the country, have triggered worries of a serious earthquake on the Korean Peninsula.

Reflecting such concerns, the National Assembly launched a special natural disaster countermeasures committee early this month to discuss nationwide preparation for potential strong tremors, the statement said.

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