Japan has 40% chance of being hit by ‘gigantic earthquake’

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Japan has a ‘high possibility’ of being devastated by a huge earthquake similar to the one that killed over 15,000 people in 2011 in the next 30 years, a panel of experts has warned.

The Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion said yesterday there was a seven to 40 per cent chance the island of Hokkaido could be hit by a tremor exceeding 8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale.

Experts on the panel were announcing their first revision to predictions in 13 years, and warned of the need for improved disaster preparations.

The Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion said yesterday there was a seven to 40 per cent chance the island of Hokkaido could be hit by a tremor exceeding 8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale. Pictured: The damage from a relatively weak 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Japan three years ago 

The Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion said yesterday there was a seven to 40 per cent chance the island of Hokkaido could be hit by a tremor exceeding 8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale. Pictured: The damage from a relatively weak 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Japan three years ago 

The scientists also warned that there was a 70 per cent chance of an earthquake between the magnitudes of 7.8 and 8.5 hitting off the coast of Nemuro and a 60 per cent chance of a similar quake hitting further north, Asahi Shimbun reported.     

Naoshi Hirata, seismology professor at the University of Tokyo and the chairman of the panel’s Earthquake Research Committee, said: ‘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.’

The panel explained that an earthquake on the scale predicted had hit the area at intervals of between 340 and 380 years – but since the most recent one hit about 400 years ago, another is now overdue. 

The catastrophic 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake measured between 9 and 9.1 on the Richter scale, making it the country’s strongest recorded quake.

The catastrophic 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake measured between 9 and 9.1 on the Richter scale, making it the country's strongest recorded quake

The catastrophic 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake measured between 9 and 9.1 on the Richter scale, making it the country's strongest recorded quake

The catastrophe also damaged a nuclear plant at Fukushima, causing a meltdown

The catastrophe also damaged a nuclear plant at Fukushima, causing a meltdown

The catastrophic 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake measured between 9 and 9.1 on the Richter scale, making it the country’s strongest recorded quake. The catastrophe also damaged a nuclear plant at Fukushima (right), causing a meltdown 

It did £270billion of damage, killed 15,894 people, left 2,546 missing and injured 6,156 after creating a deadly tsunami in its aftermath.

The catastrophe also damaged a nuclear plant at Fukushima, causing a meltdown.  

Next year, the country’s Cabinet Office is expected to announce new damage projections for a similar quake off the island of Hokkaido. 

Back in 2006, officials predicted that about 700 people would die on Hokkaido and 200 in Honshu after a tsunami was unleashed.   





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