Tue, Nov 06, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Legislator urges earthquake early-warning system

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A legislator yesterday urged the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to develop an earthquake early-warning system like that used in Japan.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said it would be discussed by the National Communications Commission.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) told the legislature’s Transportation Committee the government should learn from Japan and establish an early-warning system.

He said that before the earthquake that rattled Japan on March 11 last year, Japanese received a warning message sent through cellphone text messages, the Internet and TV — giving at least an extra 20 seconds for people living nearby to seek shelter or evacuate, and more than 40 seconds for those living in Tokyo.

The Central Weather Bureau’s earthquake early-warning technology and equipment are as good as that in Japan, but they cannot send a warning message to the public, Lee said.

Mao said the earthquake warning message in Japan was sent largely through digital audio broadcast, which is a function that the Japanese government had asked to be built into cellphones, but which most cellphones in Taiwan lack. He said that for cellphones to be equipped with such a function, the nation’s communication network would need to be reconstructed and related laws would need to be amended.

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