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The dark red areas have the highest probability of a powerful earthquake occurring. Image: Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion

Powerful quakes more likely to hit Hokkaido, Pacific coast


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Why do they keep saying "within the next 30 years". How many more years do they plan on saying this? Will it ever go down to 25? 20? 15?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

stop. they have no idea. if they could predict earthquakes then they ..... would have predicted earthquakes...

10 ( +13 / -3 )


The next quake is definitely coming to Japan. No one can tell exactly when, but it is definitely coming.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Trough-based quakes are the most worrisome as it's that type that leads to tsunami. And, no, these warnings are not useless. If I'd heeded them and had secured my TV to my wall in Kumamoto, it wouldn't have missed my wife's head by a few centimeters.

Take some time to look around your house and earthquake-proof as much as possible.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Oh shut it, if its gonna come its gonna come. When are we going to learn were not god just like playing him.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )


It's not about playing god.....it's about mitigating the effects of the quake. Like Laguna said, if you had only heeded the advice. People will become complacent and look at what happened up north.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Not 'you', 'he'.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In my job I often check the English of papers of Japanese seismologists that are for international consumption, in whiich they NEVER give probabliities, so I'm rather sceptical of these reports.

I think they simply don't know (in fact the Tohoku coast had an extremely low probabiilty in a similar survey shortly before the 2011 megaquake) but are forced to produce these reports to give the government some numbers to work with. I'm not criticising the seismologists, I just think that this field of research is still in its infancy.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ok, so now that we have these probabilities, what are they going to do about it? Nothing, because there is nothing you can do. Sure you can secure your furniture, always a smart idea, you can prepare an emergency kit, with clothes and some dry food, another great idea. But if a major quake and tsunami hits, there is not a damn thing any of us can do. I'm sorry but these reports just feels like fear mongering.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"We want people to be mindful of the fact that an earthquake can strike anywhere

Oh, no poop Sherlock! How much time and money did they waste on this report stating the blatantly obvious based on historical facts. The whole of Japan is an active volcanic and earthquake fault line created by the uplifting of the collision between three tectonic plates, which are still moving. The Japanese land mass is relatively young in geological terms and still very active. The likelihood of a major tsunami on the western coast of Japan is minimal because the fault line runs down the easy coast. “Oh der!”

They release this same report every year with the same same recycled information. ‘Copy/Paste/Print and Pay!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The only relevant fact is that earthquakes could happen in Japan any time, anything else is speculation, perhaps semi-informed but speculation nonetheless and highlighting 30 years gives people a false sense of comfort.

No Govermment agency would be permitted to give a warning of a more imminent likelihood with the Olympics so near.

If the inevitable big one comes during the Olympics then an already historic and likely horrible tragedy would be made that much worse. With much security and resources devoted to the Olympics, I am forced to wonder how Japan would cope, although no doubt the international community would try to help.

And by the way, are Japanese ambulances to be fitted with life saving equipment any time soon? A friend of mine nearly died of an asthma attack while the ambulance had no medical equipment and waited for a foreigner friendly hospital to accept her. I had a similar experience with a heart issue finding that the ambulance had no defibrillators. I am not sure whether that situation has improved but I hope so - I can’t imagine how many Japanese (and other) people have died in ambulances in circumstances where they would have been saved in other first world countries.

I sincerely hope that the whole issue of emergency ambulance and hospital support for non Japanese speakers is addressed before the Olympics and more generally for the benefit of the local population in normal times and times of emergency.

A bit off point but all connected to the issue of preparedness.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


I hear you but dont you get tired of the constant fear mongering about earthquakes and everything else for that matter.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think the numbers themselves are largely meaningless, but the government is right to continually give warnings to stop complacency setting in. Many deaths are avoidable. Laguna's near miss is a fine example.

It is also far cheaper for the government to warn people and encourage them to rebuild than to support and rehouse people whose houses have been compromised (most don't actually collapse) in a quake. Just one example, but those temporary prefabs alone cost over six million yen each and many designs are not reusable.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

These maps are pretty much pointless. Everyone knows Japan has earthquakes, same as with California. You live there knowing this is an inevitability.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Creating a map like this one presented is called sciences about probabilty.

Nothing new indeed but better be informed than not.

Insurers know how to use this kind of map.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As stated, everyone is informed already. Setting aside indigenous tribes in Africa/Amazon, the modern man/woman knows Japan = earthquakes. We are already informed. It's not like people are going to move each year the new map comes out. If that was the case, you'd have the entire population living in the far south and northern west coast, with the rest of Japan being a relative wasteland.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This information is far from "largely pointless" or "fear mongering." Information like this helps bring about awareness and assists people in making informed decisions.

Last fall, while renovating my house, I watched the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake on TV. Those pictures of devastation drove me to research likely failure points in older Japanese wooden house construction. Thanks to information similar to that presented in the article above I made the wise decision to invest in foundation upgrades, earthquake dampers, structural deflection reducing measures, and also had the entire framing of my home tied together with a few hundred lag-bolts. Now I feel that in the event of a powerful earthquake my house is a faaaar safer place to be than it was 12 months ago. And this kind of information help get me there.

You may choose to ignore this information if you find it a waste of your time, but don't try to convince me that it is has no value or it is only designed to generate fear. I know from experience that such claims are baseless.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good luck finding ground more than 20m above sea level the next time a tsunami hits Tokyo - millions of people will be trapped in zones barely above sea level. Why do you people still live there?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Jonathan Prin - the map may be better than nothing, but I just know that these figures, produced by simulation by people who are unsure of what parameters to put into their models because of the complexity of the topic, are going to be quoted as gospel in news reports.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't think it's fear-mongering. Being aware can save lives and limbs. If you want to get your house able to withstand a shindo 6- without seriously injuring you, keep heavy/breakable objects close to the floor, buy long/horizontal bookcases and chests of drawers instead of vertical ones, if you must have tall furniture, anchor it (it can at least give you an extra second to escape from its path as it falls) and don't keep it where you sleep. The fewer possessions you have in general, the safer and easier it will be to clean up. Keep extra water/emergency supplies in a bag on hand, have a plan for family members if you're separated at work/school with transportation down.

The "big one" will come, it's just a matter of when. It may not be in your lifetime, but you never know. Being prepared doesn't mean living in fear. Quite the opposite, it gives me a peace of mind knowing I've done what I can.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


Shogani na ;O)

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Earthquakes are like bolts of lightning. You never know when or where they are going to strike next.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

100% chance of quake... well we had one yesterday in Tokyo... but Small. Why is most of Fukuoka yellow ? I guess this map was produced this year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ok, so now that we have these probabilities, what are they going to do about it?

According Abe restart NPPs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The State Security Act and State Secrets Act allow the government to imprison employees, experts or journalists to up to 10 years in prison if the release any research or information that may harm the Japanese economy. Imagine if the experts said in the next year or two, before or during the Olympics, a massive earthquake and possible 25m tsunami is almost 100% likely? Many parts of Tokyo are only 10-15m.

Dont wanna mention that an earthquake may erupt Fujisan like the one in the Galapagos did today, or vice versa.

stay safe. Not only do I have an emergency pack, but both my cars are 4wd and always have full tanks of petrol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Those in Osaka: Did anybody notice that the alarm went off halfway through the strongest part of the jolt? I wonder if they noticed this...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Goodlucktoyou - I've told you countless times that there are not going to be large tsunamis hitting Tokyo. Now either produce some studies suggesting that I'm wrong or stop repeating this ridiculous and scaremongering assertion.

Atair - it's a consequence of the physics on which the alarm system is based. Unfortuantely, the system is least effective when the epicentre is closest. However, it may buy a few seconds for people doing critical stuff, such as driving Shinkansen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

so in other news, a large volcanic island sitting in fault zone has earthquakes.... and will have more...

amazing... I wonder how much man hours of my tax money went into this..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It seems like a lot of people here think scientific study and inquiry should stop just because they don’t see it as useful. Fortunately, you don’t have control over that and civil planners can continue to improve disaster mitigation planning efforts; engineers, architects and builders can continue to improve building resiliency; and the individuals who care to investigate how they can mitigate their personal risks can do so. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Earthquakes are shouganai. How we respond to them is not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Powerful earthquakes are no more likely to hit Hokkaido or the Pacific coast of Japan this year than they were last year, the year before that or ten years ago.

What has changed is this: for many years, the Government of Japan told its population that it was fully prepared to handle any foreseeable major earthquake. The Kobe and Tohoku earthquakes clearly demonstrated that this was not the case. So they have been under-reporting the likely risk, especially in the Kanto area, for a long time, meanwhile slowly softening the Japanese public with gradual release of reports describing the risk in the Nankai Trough (Kansai) area as being greater than previously expected. These reports increased after 2011.

Now a relatively small seismic event in Osaka has provided the government with an "I told you so" chance to issue reports increasing the risk in other regions, starting with Hokkaido. Eventually they will start talking about the earthquake risk in Tokyo, but an actual serious earthquake may hit before then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Years of the last few major earthquakes in Japan:

2018, 2016, 2016, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2012, 2011, 2011, 2011, 2011, 2011, 2011, 2010, 2010, 2009, 2009, 2008

Looks like we are due for a few big ones within a year, most likely in 2018.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I experienced the osaka earthquake recently as a tourist & this was only my third time visiting japan. The „funny“ thing was, the emergency announcement was only in japanese. In a city that has advertisements in four languages (at least in certain parts of the city) as well as in the subway, the least they could do for such essential announcements is to add engrish for the gaijins....i bet tokyo is like that too....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess we will be writing about this for years to come, and even up to the point that the big o

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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