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Gov't panel warns of possibility of 'impending' M9 quake off Hokkaido


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The panel, headed by University of Tokyo professor Naoshi Hirata, predicts there is a 7 to 40 percent possibility of an M9.0 class earthquake occurring in the next 30 years.

That's an enormous variance in those figures. 40 percent is 570% higher than 7 percent.


0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hirata's team, in cooperation with the Cabinet Office, will evaluate the height of the expected tsunami from the next huge earthquake and the likely seismic intensities in the affected areas.

Don't ya think they should be evaluating the data BEFORE the next quake and tsunami?

They should have plenty of data from the last mega-quake and folks getting a warning like this, should be making arrangements to move their butts inland.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And in other news, most of us will die in the next 7-40 years! Can't say exactly, but now I've got you all scared and willing to give the government more money to waste on things you think might help you!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Yubaru - I think they are making evaluations based on predictions to produce a report in advance of any big earthquake. Difficult to say for certain though.

Can anybody else clarify this?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Considering Japan sits on the cusp of three tectonic plates and was formed by volcanic activity along the joins of these plates, many of which are still active, large earthquakes are an inevitability. Predicting where and when is just a matter of chance. Nobody predicted the 2011 quake though.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

this is total BS. if they could predict earthquakes we could evacuate before they come.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

The whole island could pop tomorrow. These guys are just a bunch of chancers on the take. It's not like anybody (who matters) listens to them anyhoo.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Dango bong:

They HAVE predicted an earthquake.

You CAN evacuate.

Not trying to be a clown...just sayin'

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Didnt they say six years ago that a big one will likely hit within the next 7 to 10 years?

Fearmongering perhaps, but if this news help keeping the reactors offline then by all means go for it. We all know a big one can come any time now.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well, that's not good.. So now there's a 9.0 predicted for Hokkaido, in addition to the 9.0+ megaquake predicted for the Nankai trough? This will be bad

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Back in the 90s, researchers looked whether catfish activity could predict earthquakes, based on old myths and legends. Electronic sensors monitored seven fish 24 hours a day and relayed information about their movements to a computer. The information was compared to records of earthquakes kept by the Central Meteorological Agency.

Consistently, all seven of the usually sluggish fish greatly increased their activity several days before about 31% of earthquakes that registered "quite strong" or higher on the Japanese earthquake scale. Five or six of the fish perked up before 60% to 70% of the quakes, that's better than a random association.

Researchers believed the results were successful, but sponsors in the Tokyo government didn't think it was going anywhere. They wanted to discover ways to predict a major earthquake, but the fish are sensitive to even shallow ones. The programme was stopped and the fish were released, not eaten.

It does not look as if a more accurate prediction system has been developed.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

fear - worry - propaganda

0 ( +3 / -3 )

7 to 40 percent possibility of an M9.0 class earthquake occurring in the next 30 years.

this is rubbish. LDP don't wanna scare lucrative tourists who probably have no idea where Hokkaido is (unless they are Aussie skiers).

it can happen tomorrow! it is most likely to happen in Tokyo, Nagoya or Wakayama (Osaka). it's science not politics. basically, and you can quote me in a few years if I'm wrong, the govt knows its going to happen and as evidence, why do they restart all the NPP's away from Tokyo?

i moved to a safe place. i have earthquake preparation and a nuke shelter. i lost money, but i am sure my family is safe. I love Japan. just be careful. enjoy.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Man, I hope that thing doesn't hit while I'm at the top of Mt. Annupuri this winter. Coz if it does, I might turn into a snowball and they'll find me in summer. Scary stuff!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wonder now, what the probability is of a major quake happening during the Olympics ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While seismic research and earthquake prediction are valuable, the announcements in this article are too vague to be meaningful and I suspect are for domestic consumption - as part of my job I check the papers written by Japanese seismologists submitted to international journals and they never give probabilites of earthquakes happening.

I lost any faith in such probabilities about the time of the Fukushima disaster and Tokyo's application for the Olympic games.

Pre-2011, there was a 70% probability of the next giant Kanto earthquake happening in the next 30 years according to the 'experts'. After the Tohoku earthquake, there was concern that the earthquake would have knock-on effects on the neighbouring plates, a study was commissioned, and it was announced that there was a 70% probability that the next Kanto earthquake would be in the next 4 years. The scientists were rebuked for being alarmist, they checked their figures (or more likely, tweaked their parameters) and the probability was reduced to a more acceptable 50%.

Then Tokyo started applying for the Olympics, and my guess is that such a high figure would count against them, and the 'expert prediction' was moved back to what it was pre-2011, a 70% probability in the next 30 years.

What the correct figure is is anyone's guess.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Wonder now, what the probability is of a major quake happening during the Olympics ?

Extremely low for such a short time period.

A more interersting questions is what would happen if there is a major quake before the Olympics (which is not extremely low). Would the government do the decent thing and abandon its giant vanity project?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

関東大震災 Kantō daishinsai 148,000 deaths (about) in 1923. there was an earthquake in tokyo today, but not so strong. luckily no deaths.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not Hokkaido, but for when the Nankai Earthquake hits, there is a sign on the main road just down from my place saying that is the point to which the tsunami should reach.

Now what are the chances of that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Would not be a bad idea to listen to these people. There was one professor in Tohoku who predicted the 2011 quake (he thought it would have been within the decade) and several cities refused to meet with him but I believe he was schedule to meet with Minami Sanriku in March 2011.....but the quake happened before he could meet with the city officials.

I will try to find the link to this article. Quite interesting.

Not sure if I will be around 30 years from now but a 7-40% chance of a M9 quake within 30 years is something to take seriously. At least have people, schools, etc. shore up their evacuation and response plans.

I think the chance of an asteroid strike in the next decade is fairly high....different discussion for a different time I guess....but as an engineer I think it is best to do whatever we can to prepare for an ELE or something that can do major damage if we have the ability to do so

2 ( +3 / -1 )

4 super earthquakes hit Japan in last 100 years, roughly one per 25-30 years. so, not entirely out of realm of possibility.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Watched on news last night and much more interesting detail was shown.

Just recently, Geologists / Seismologists analyzed exposed soil horizons in this area, dating back over millennia. The layers were clearly shown and about every 350 ~ 400 years there was a big change in the sediment profile indicating major quakes / tsunamis.

This was repeated any number of times and the next time frame for such a mega-quake is now - meaning the first part of this century.

This is well supported science thru observation and evaluation. It isn't glass ball gazing as some appear to suggest.

No-one knows for sure - but if I was in the long term betting game, I'd wager my money on the side of believable science.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A detailed and surprisingly accurate tsunami projection for the coastline north of Tokyo was carried out before 2011, but its recommendations were not carried out. Now is the time for Hokkaido to make some preparations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

off the eastern coast of Hokkaido? how come no-one's blaming it on Kim's missiles… a real waste of a 'propaganda-moment' there….

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

fear - worry - propaganda

No it isn't, the reason is stated in the article:

*"Japan's science and technology minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told a press conference, "We are hoping this report will help local municipal governments to make necessary preparations and raise households' awareness of disaster risk."*

Who needs scientist when there are so many know-it-all, mouthy experts right here on JT (on every subject, not just this one)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Who needs scientist when there are so many know-it-all, mouthy experts right here on JT (on every subject, not just this one)

When the self-appointed experts produce unhelpful, vague and contradictory statistics which are then quoted as gospel by all the news sources in Japan (see my above comment), there's nothing wrong with pointing it out. I have enough background information on this subject to know that the real experts do not make pronouncements on the probabilities of earthquakes - they make measurements of anomolous seismic phenomena, suggest mechanisms that explain them, and make hypotheses on how these phenomena might influence the likelihood of another large earthquake occurring. Unfortunately, because of the immense difficulty of predicting earthquakes, that's about as far as seismology has got - anyone giving probabilities is feeding parameters into a simulator without knowing how accurate those parameters are or whether the assumptions in the simulation are valid.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Who needs scientist when there are so many know-it-all, mouthy experts right here on JT (on every subject, not just this one)

When the self-appointed experts produce unhelpful, vague and contradictory statistics which are then quoted as gospel by all the news sources in Japan... I have enough background information on this subject to know...

That really made my day, and my point.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think it's worthwhile paying attention to the boffins, who actually do know more than you or I about these kind of things.

Wishing everyone a safe 2018, btw.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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