A spectral acceleration attenuation model for Japan is presented in the present study. The data set includes a very large number of strong ground-motion records up to the 2003 Off Tokach main and aftershocks. Site class terms, instead of individual site correction terms, are used. The site classes of recording stations are from a recent study on site classification for strong-motion recording stations in Japan according to a classification scheme that has been used in Japanese engineering design. The use of site class terms enables tectonic source-type effects to be identified and accounted for in the present model. The effects of a faulting mechanism for crustal earthquakes also are accounted for. For crustal and interface earthquakes, a simple form of an attenuation model (with respect to distance) is able to capture the main strong-motion characteristics and achieves unbiased estimates. For subduction slab events, a simple distance modification factor is employed to achieve plausible and unbiased predictions. The effects of source depth, tectonic source type, and faulting mechanism of crustal earthquakes are significant. The need for magnitude- squared terms is evaluated, and the use of magnitude-squared terms reduces the interevent error further.

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