The robustness of base-isolated high-rise buildings is investigated under code-specified ground motions. Friction-type bearings are often used in base-isolated high-rise buildings to make the natural period of those buildings much longer. While additional damping can be incorporated into every story in passive controlled structures with inter-story type passive members, that can be incorporated into the base-isolation story only in the base-isolated building. This fact leads to the property that, as the number of stories of the building becomes larger, the damping ratio reduces. This characteristic may cause some issues in the evaluation of robustness of base-isolated high-rise buildings. The purpose of this paper is to reveal the robustness of base-isolated high-rise buildings. A kind of inverse problem for the target drift in the base-isolation story is formulated in order to determine the required quantity of additional viscous damping. It is demonstrated numerically that, as the base-isolated building becomes taller, the damping ratio becomes smaller and the ratio of the friction-type bearings in the total damping becomes larger. This may lead to the conclusion that base-isolated high-rise buildings have smaller robustness than base-isolated low-rise buildings. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.