Stubborn Craftsmen in the Disaster-Less City


The highest compensation on disaster-related court dicisions

Last month, two important disaster-related court decisions were handed down in Japan. The first was a lawsuit by shareholders against the former management of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The amount of compensation was an unprecedented 13 trillion JPY. This was the highest amount of compensation ever charged for causing a particular type of environmental pollution. It was namely radioactive pollution which resulted in the extensive and long-term damage to many people.

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The other was lawsuit by bereaved families of the victims at the 2014 Mount Ontake eruption, suing the government and the prefecture. They claimed it was illegal for the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to leave the eruption-warning level lower without sufficient consideration. In conclusion the plaintiffs’ claim was dismissed from the reason that it was unlikely the damage could have been prevented, even if the alert level had been raised. However, the JMA General Director mentioned like this: “We received very severe criticism for our judgment and work on the day of the eruption”. This will no doubt affect the future positioning of the eruption-warning level in Japan.

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The location of business is the permanent challenge

Through these cases, it is clear that corporate executives are ultimately responsible to the company and third parties as indivisuals, even if the direct causes are natural disasters. Therefore the decision of where to locate their own businesses is a permanent challenge for corporations. As for us CondeHouse, it has been almost half a century since we founded in Asahikawa. Today, let me mention on the frequency of disaster (espacially earthquakes) in Asahikawa.

A House damaged by the ground deformation due to an earthquake

Asahikawa city and earthquakes

Asahikawa is a city with a quite low frequency of earthquakes, despite being surrounded by mountains, which even includes the active volcano. Let’s compare the number of earthquakes between cities with similar population (340,000 people). The following table shows the population, number of recorded earthquakes, and extent of the largest earthquake in Akita, Kawagoe, Otsu, Nara, Takatsuki, Kochi, and Naha. These cities were selected evenly from the vertical Japanese topography. As you can see, Asahikawa is the only city with an extremely low of 25, meanwhile the average is 230 events. This frequency, in a country notorious for its great seismic activity, is a miracle for a city of this population size.

The iconic city view of Asahikawa

2018 Hokkaido earthquake

Let’s see Hokkaido island. Do you know the 2018 Hokkaido earthquake? This ceismic motion have recorded a maximum acceleration in the southwest Hokkaido. Many people died in the landslides that accompanied this earthquake. It was a shocking and unforgettable, the mountainside slipping away as far as the eye could see. At the time Asahikawa was also experienced seismic motion but it was so tiny, although this was the largest ever recorded in Asahikawa.

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Asahikawa citizen’s awareness

People’s awareness also reflects the fact that major earthquakes is rare. When I was helping to redecorate our showroom, I was struck by the fact that the overhead lighting ducts were not fixed completely. Yet they had been fine for years and even for decades.

Also, is it really unnecessary to use a tension rod against vibration? Tension rod is quite popular and indispensable item in Tokyo, which can be seen everywhere. In fact, it’s obligatory of business office or public facilities. But I have never seen them in Asahikawa.

An example of tension rod (Source:

However, even for the sake of safety and human life, its interior appearance is far from luxurious, isn’t it? In other words, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the luxurious furniture proposed by CondeHouse is prepared on the assumption that earthquakes will not attack to your home and office!

We are a team of stubborn craftsmen

We CondeHouse are a team of stubborn craftsmen, focusing on the strengh of furniture all the time. Despite the curved and complex designes, we have been trying to perform the maximum strengh of products. Finger joint is one of tequniques for keeping strength. Whatever effort and time is spared, our products are guaranteed to be above a certain level of strength.

Feel safe on our chair, even attacked by the earthquakes!

The reason why we focus on strength is we want our products to be used for a long time. In the product development process, the strength test is set quite severely under a higher load than the domestic standard. For example, if an earthquake occurs the external force is applied to chair you sitting on. The force can easily be more than one person. The CondeHouse chairs are designed even if a major earthquake occur while the guests were sitting on. Please feel safe on our chairs, take first care that light ductning, shelves, and TV board instead!