Architect jailed after 2011 Japanese earthquake deaths

A Japanese court has sentenced the architect who designed a Tokyo parking lot which collapsed in the 2011 earthquake, killing two people, to jail.

Naoki Takagaki, who was found guilty of professional negligence, faces eight months in prison and a two-year ban on practicing his profession, the Tokyo district court said.

The court said the accused failed to fulfil his duty of duly informing the parking director about the design of the facilities.

Takagaki initially designed a structure capable of withstanding the impact of a high-intensity earthquake, but the plans were subsequently changed during construction.

The magnitude-9 earthquake, which rocked Japan on March 11 caused one of the ramps of the parking lot, located in western Tokyo’s Machida district, to collapse, killing two people and injuring six others.

The architect plans to appeal the verdict on the grounds that he could not foresee a change in the original design.

The earthquake (the aftermath of which is in the picture above) that struck Japan especially affected the northwestern region, where most of the 18,500 deaths and disappearances caused by the natural disaster occurred.