Earthquake Watch: Big Tokyo earthquake likely ‘within the next few years’

Posted on January 23, 2012

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A big earthquake is much more likely to hit the Japanese capital, Tokyo, in the next few years than the government has predicted, researchers say.

The team, from the University of Tokyo, said there was a 75% probability that a magnitude 7 quake would strike the region in the next four years.

The government says the chances of such an event are 70% in the next 30 years.

The warning comes less than a year after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s north-eastern coast.

The last time Tokyo was hit by a big earthquake was in 1923, when a 7.9 magnitude quake killed more than 100,000 people, many of them in fires.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s earthquake research institute based their figures on data from the growing number of tremors in the capital since the 11 March 2011 quake.

They say that compared with normal years, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of quakes in the Tokyo metropolitan area since the March disaster.

BBC

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