From the NY Times, Japan’s Strict Building Codes Saved Lives:
Had any other populous country suffered the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that shook Japan on Friday, tens of thousands of people might already be counted among the dead. So far, Japan’s death toll is in the hundreds, although it is certain to rise somewhat.
Over the years, Japan has spent billions of dollars developing the most advanced technology against earthquakes and tsunamis. The Japanese, who regularly experience smaller earthquakes and have lived through major ones, know how to react to quakes and tsunamis because of regular drills — unlike Southeast Asians, many of whom died in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami because they lingered near the coast despite clear warnings to flee.
Note: the title of the post is a reference to a tweet by Dave Ewing:
The headline you won’t see: “Millions saved in Japan by good engineering and government building codes”. But it’s the truth.