Japanese and US building codes

The article discusses the differences between Japanese and US building codes in regards to earthquake resistance. Japan builds stronger structures capable of withstanding earthquakes and being used immediately afterward, while the United States sets a minimum and less protective standard with the understanding that many buildings will be badly damaged. Japanese buildings are typically built with a grid of steel beams and columns that distribute seismic forces evenly across the structure, while American buildings are designed to crumple and dissipate the energy of an earthquake through damage. American building codes allow for twice as much drift (swaying) as Japanese ones, and most American buildings are built with a reinforced concrete core, which Japanese engineers consider unpredictable in earthquakes. Some American cities are considering rules that would require buildings to be more rigid, similar to those in Japan, and experts say American buildings could be much more resilient for little additional cost.

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