Northern Japan at risk of Fukushima-level earthquake

Experts say the region has passed the end of a major earthquake cycle

Northern Japan at risk of Fukushima-level earthquake

Insurance News

By Paolo Taruc

Northern Japan is at risk of a Fukushima-level earthquake over the next 30 years, according to a panel of experts from the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion.

The odds were placed between 7% and 40% for a magnitude 8.8 quake to strike off Chisima trench near the eastern coast of Hokkaido, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

According to the panel’s calculations, the region may be due for a big tremor, as quakes of that scale occur there at average intervals of 340 to 380 years. The last one occurred some 400 years ago.

“I hope disaster preparations are reviewed based on the possibility that a super-gigantic quake like the one that struck the Tohoku region could also strike Hokkaido,” said Naoshi Hirata, a seismology professor and chairman of the panel’s Earthquake Research Committee, as quoted by the newspaper.

Over 15,000 people lost their lives after a magnitude 9.0 to 9.1 earthquake struck off the eastern coast of the Tohoku region in 2011. The event triggered a large tsunami that surged up to 10km inland in some areas. It also led to three nuclear meltdowns in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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