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Japanese Architect Admits to Falsifying Earthquake Resistance Documents

Japanese Architect Hidetsugu Aneha recently admitted to falsifying earthquake building resistance data on several projects in order to save money and win contracts, causing a national scandal in Japan.

Aneha, 48, runs a small firm in Ichikawa that has played a role in nearly 200 structures, including high-rise residential towers, hotels and temples. On November 17, he confessed to designing 21 buildings in recent years that would not withstand a moderate earthquake.

Japan is located atop four tectonic plates, making it exceptionally prone to earthquakes. A severe tremor a decade ago flattened part of the Port of Kobe, and killed about 6,000 people. Officials, in response, tightened the country's already strict building codes.

Aneha, under pressure from developers, used less structural steel than required to reduce construction costs. His admission prompted seven hotels to close. Condominium owners have fled their homes, and demanded refunds. Construction, meanwhile, has stopped on other Aneha-related projects. Engineers have reexamined 14 of his buildings thus far, and ordered all but one to be demolished. The local police are conducting an investigation into possible criminal behavior.

Tony Illia