Japan Seeks to Detect Quakes Earlier

Scientists say Japan is overdue for a massive earthquake. In response, officials unveil a new system that will help detect earthquakes as much as 30 seconds faster. That small lead time is expected to cut down on confusion and damage.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Set aside global warming for a moment because scientists say Japan is overdue for a more immediate disaster - a massive earthquake. Today, officials unveiled a new system that will help detect earthquakes more quickly. A survey this year found a huge earthquake would leave hundreds of thousands of people without emergency shelter. But this new warming system could give residents as much as 30-second's warning before a quake hits. It may not seem like much, but officials hope that a little lead time will cut down on confusion, might be time enough to run outdoors or turn off the stove that could cause a fire once the quake is over.

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