Japan at risk of more strong quakes in the next four years, say seismologists

Sendai Japan EarthquakeJapan is still working to recover from a massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake that rocked the nation last year. The quake generated a tsunami that claimed 20,000 lives and spurred a nuclear crisis that continues to this day. While it will certainly not be the last quake Japan experiences in its lifetime, seismologists from the University of Tokyo say that the next quake will come sooner than expected. According to researchers, there is a 70% chance that the nation will be hit by a powerful quake of magnitude-7.0 or higher within four years.

In the six month period after the quake hit Japan in March of last year, the nation has seen more than 340 seismic events, up from the 47 seen in the six months before the disaster. Recovering from the previous quake has proven difficult, but life in Japan has returned to a tentative state of normalcy. Another quake would put the recovery effort back significantly, especially if the disaster is located in a large city like Tokyo.

Insurers in the country have been working with the government to expedite the recovery process. Insurance companies are also looking for ways to mitigate the damage caused by quakes and form policies that are more accommodating to the needs of consumers.

Japan is no stranger to strong seismic events. It is one of the most earthquake-prone countries on the planet, largely due to its position on the notorious Ring of Fire, a literal geologic ring where the tectonic plates separate causing powerful quakes.

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