The Foreign Affairs Department has put out a call for bids to assess the need for a "seismic upgrade" of its Tokyo embassy building and official residences.
The Canadian mission is about 225 kilometres south of the scene of one of the worst earthquakes in history, which left an estimated 19,000 dead or missing.
The March 11, 2011, 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant's vital cooling system, spewing radiation and across the countryside and into the Pacific Ocean after three reactor cores melted down.
The journal Nature also recently released a study that found elevated levels of radiation in fish and seafood, prompting concern that the reactors may still be leaking radiation.
Foreign Affairs is calling for bids for a five-phase project that could lead to major structural upgrades to its diplomatic buildings in Japan.
The first phase calls for an investigation of Japanese building codes, "particularly concerning composite building construction, such as the Tokyo Chancery, and the seismic behaviour of such composite behaviour," says a statement of work.
If everything appears safe, then the project would end there.
If not, then a second phase would begin — a structural evaluation of the diplomatic buildings.
"This component will include a detailed site investigation to eliminate assumptions regarding the structural framing, material properties, and will record the current condition of the structural elements," says the statement.
This will involve a "detailed structural survey" of reinforced concrete walls and frames as well as "destructive strength testing" among other things.
"The structure shall be re-evaluated based on the findings of the detailed survey and geotechnical investigation and a 3-D model and dynamic analysis shall be performed."
The findings of this phase will be laid out in a detailed memorandum that will allow Foreign Affairs to decide what to do next. The process could end here "if it is determined that the buildings are structurally and seismically acceptable by DFAIT in terms of risk."
But if the department determines the level of risk to be unacceptable, the next phase "will consist of producing a complete construction design package for seismic upgrades."
The statement of work also calls for a full discussion of what it would take to conduct the upgrades in both an occupied and unoccupied embassy.
"The consultant shall give full consideration to new technologies which may economically enhance the seismic resistance of the structure," it says.
"Discuss implications with respect to building performance and retrofit costs. Also provide commentary on each option and discuss the strategic constraints in the implementation of each, including implication of working within an occupied building versus unoccupied building."
The final phase would consist of on-site quality insurance if Foreign Affairs goes ahead with the upgrades.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to Japan in March and visited the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged region of Sendai.
Harper praised Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for "the true and clear leadership" he displayed during the March 2011 crisis, and how quickly Japan managed to rebuild.
Noda said the Japanese people were "deeply touched'' by the expressions of support and assistance from Canada.Suggest a correction