Anyone been following the news will know that Japan has been rocked by a few decent quakes over the last few days. What I find amazing is the speed at which we are informed here, our mobile phones sound an alert a good 5 seconds before the quakes hit, the TV has instant information where the quake occurred, Tsunami warnings are issued pretty much straight away. The Japanese have a very good warning system in place. Many of the houses here are clad with a brick veneer sheet, it has about 1cm gap between joins that is filled with silicon sealant, I can only assumed compared with chch quakes the Japanese have learned that this reduces damage to houses in a quake as things can move a bit. In NZ our houses still using brick an mortar, this cracked on many house during the quakes in NZ.