Houses toppling over, fires blazing, trains going off their rails and murky water rushing through the streets, sweeping cars away.
These are computer-generated images in two videos released by the Japanese government this week to prepare citizens for a major earthquake that could strike Tokyo or Osaka “at any time”.
But the videos’ impact could leave some viewers paralysed with fear.
The videos, commissioned by the Cabinet Office Disaster Management team and posted on the government’s homepage, say there is a 70% chance that Tokyo, situated near where three plates collide under the Pacific Ocean, will experience a magnitude 7 quake in the next 30 years.
About 20% of all quakes of magnitude 6 or greater occur around Japan. “We need to be aware of disaster risks,” the videos say.
“We need to be prepared and take action as a society.”
If Tokyo was hit by a magnitude 7.3 quake, an estimated 23 000 people would die and more than seven million would be driven into emergency shelters, one video says.