Research shows big quake for Tokyo within four years

2012-01-23 11:22

Tokyo – The risk of an earthquake of magnitude-seven or above striking the Tokyo metropolitan area within the next four years could be as high as 70%, researchers have said.

Naoshi Hirata of the University of Tokyo’s earthquake research institute said the risk may have increased as a result of the magnitude-nine earthquake on March 11.

Since the quake, seismic activity has been intensifying in the Tokyo area, and quakes with a magnitude of more than three have taken place about five times more frequently than usual, the Hirata and other researchers said.

At the current pace of activity, there was a 70% chance of a quake of magnitude-seven or more in the next four years, they said.

An earlier estimate by the government’s headquarters for earthquake research said the region only had that probability of suffering such a large earthquake over the next 30 years, based on the intervals between large quakes in the past, Kyodo News reported.

More than 19 100 people were killed or missing after the March quake and resulting tsunami struck north-eastern Japan.

The twin natural disasters also triggered the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, 250km north-east of Tokyo, leading to meltdowns at three of its six reactors.

The closest nuclear plant to the capital is Tokai No 2 power station, 120km to the north-east.

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