Earthquakes in Japan
Earthquakes in Japan occur frequently. While the majority are minor tremors that cause no injury or damage, several major earthquakes have occurred in the last century.
Major Earthquake in Japan (March 11, 2011)- Sendai Earthquake
On March 3, 2011 at 2:46 local time, an earthquake called the most powerful to hit Japan in at least 100 years struck Japan. The earthquake unleashed tsunamis and caused significant damage. According to initial reports, between 200-300 bodies have been found in the coastal city of Sendai alone, with further casualties expected. Damage is said to be widespread and 10s of thousands have been evacuated in the Sendai area. The epicenter of the earthquake was offshore, 373 kilometers (231 miles) away from Tokyo. Tokyo residents also felt strong shaking, and transportation was halted. Tsumani warnings have been issued for Japan as well as 20 other countries.
Iwate Prefecture Earthquakes (2008)
On July 24, 2008, shortly after midnight, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Iwate Prefecture, which is 280 miles northeast of Tokyo. The quake caused some minor structural damage, but gas, phone lines, water, and electricity continued to run normally. Approximately 200 persons were injured, including 38 seriously. No deaths were reported.
This earthquake comes just one month after a 7.2 magnitude quake in Iwate, referred to now as the 2008 Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku Earthquake, on June 14 that killed at least 12 people.
Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake (2004)
The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, also called the Mid Niigata Earthquake, occurred in the Chuetsu area of Niigata Prefecture on Saturday October 23, 2004 at 5:56pm. The earthquake had a magnitude of approximately 6.8, and was followed by a series of smaller quakes and tremors. Some 50 people were killed and over 600 injured. Another large earthquake shook the same area in 2007.
Great Hanshin (Kobe) Earthquake (1995)
The Great Hanshin Earthquake, also called the Kobe Earthquake, occurred on Tuesday January 17, 1995 at 5:46am in the southern part of Hyogo Prefecture. The earthquake’s epicenter was Awaji Island, located about 20 kilometers from the city of Kobe. The quake had a magnitude of approximately 7.2 and lasted for about 20 seconds. Though brief in duration, over 6,000 lives were lost in this earthquake. The majority of deaths and damage occurred in Kobe, a city with a population of around 1.5 million at the time. Over 100,000 people lost their homes and damages from the Great Hanshin Earthquake have been estimated at well over $100 billion.
The Great Kanto Earthquake (1923)
The Great Kanto Earthquake, sometimes simply referred to as the Tokyo Earthquake, occurred at 11:58am on September 23, 1923 with a magnitude of around 7.9 on the Richter scale. The epicenter of the earthquake was Sagami Bay, located to the southwest of Tokyo Bay. The earthquake reduced the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Yokohama to rubble, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kanto region. Over 100,000 were killed and an additional 40,000 unaccounted for.