December 16, 2005
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.