Skip to main content Accessibility help

Study of Medical Demand-Supply Balance for the Nankai Trough Earthquake

  • Yosuke Takada (a1) (a2) and Yasuhiro Otomo (a1)



The Nankai Trough, which marks the boundary between the Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates, is forecasted to create a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami within 30 years. The Japanese government believes that the number of casualties would be huge. However, the exact number of severely injured (SI) people who would need emergency and intensive care has not been identified.


This study, therefore, aimed to clarify the gap between medical supplies and forecasted demand.


The official data estimating the number of injured people were collected, together with the number of intensive care unit (ICU) and high care unit (HCU) beds from each prefecture throughout Japan. The number of SI cases was recalculated based on official data. The number of hospital beds was then compared with the number of SI people.


The total number of hospitals in Japan is 8,493 with 893,970 beds, including 6,556 ICU and 5,248 HCU beds. When the Nankai Trough earthquake occurs, 187 of the 723 disaster base hospitals (DBHs) would be located in the areas with a seismic intensity of an upper six on the Japanese Seismic Intensity Scale (JSIS) of seven, and 79 DBHs would be located in the tsunami inundation area. The estimated total number of injured people would be 661,604, including 26,857 severe, 290,065 moderate, and 344,682 minor cases.


Even if all ICU and HCU beds were available for severe patients, an additional 15,053 beds would be needed. If 80% of beds were used in non-disaster times, the available ICU and HCU beds would be only 2,361. The Cabinet Office of Japan (Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan) assumes that 60% of hospital beds would be unavailable in an area with an upper six on the JSIS. The number of ICU and HCU beds that would be usable during a disaster would thus further decrease. The beds needed for severe patients, therefore, would be significantly lacking when the Nankai Trough earthquake occurs. It would be necessary to start the treatment of those severe patients who are “more likely to be saved.”


Corresponding author

Correspondence: Yosuke Takada, RN, PHN, MSc, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo 1138510 Japan, Okayama University, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho Kita-ku Okayama City, Okayama 7008558 Japan, E-mail:


Hide All
1.Japanese Cabinet Office. The damage assumption of the Nankai Trough megathrust (the first report). Published in 2012. Accessed November 26, 2018.
2.Japanese Cabinet Office. The method of assumption of the Nankai Trough megathrust damages. Published in 2012. Accessed November 26, 2018.
3.Japanese Cabinet Office. The number 518 Notification from the cabinet office. Issued June 28, 2001.
4.The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The number 0331-33 Notification from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. Issued March 30, 2017.
5.Anan, H, Kondo, H, Akasaka, O, et al. Investigation of Japan Disaster Medical Assistance Team response guidelines assuming catastrophic damage from a Nankai Trough earthquake. Acute Med Surg. 2017;4(3):300305.10.1002/ams2.280
6.Headquarters for Reconstruction of the Hanshin/Awaji Area Department of Health Environment, Medical Affairs Division. Fact-finding about the disaster medical care. June 1995. Published in 1995. Accessed October 20, 2018.
7.Sugimoto, T, Yoshioka, T, Tanaka, H, et al.Fact-finding report of initial emergency care to affect Hanshin Awaji great earthquake disaster.” In: Report of the Research Group in 1995 Grants-in-Aid for Health Sciences Research Grants. Tokyo, Japan: MHLW; 1995:1722.
8.Kanagawa Prefecture Earthquake Damage Assumption Survey Chapter 3 Human Damage; p103. March 2015. Published in 2015. Accessed October 18, 2019.
9.Ministry of Defence. Defense of Japan 2018. Published in 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019.
10.Ministry of Defence. Medium Term Defense Program (FY2014–FY2018). Published in 2013. Accessed June 19, 2019.
11.Sadamitsu, T, Hirao, T, Koido, Y, et al.Studies on acute medical responses by DMATs for damage estimates in the Nankai Trough Earthquake.” In: Sadamitsu, T, (ed). Report of the Research Group in 2013 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Health, Safety, and Crisis Management Measure. Tokyo, Japan: MHLW; 2014:125. Published in 2013. Accessed June 19, 2019.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Study of Medical Demand-Supply Balance for the Nankai Trough Earthquake

  • Yosuke Takada (a1) (a2) and Yasuhiro Otomo (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.