Factbox: Major earthquakes in Japan since Kobe disaster of 1995

January 2, 2024 - 6:37 PM
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A man walks past a damaged shrine, following an earthquake, in Ujima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan January 2, 2024, (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

 A powerful earthquake struck central Japan on Monday, killing at least six people, destroying buildings and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes.

Situated on the “Ring of Fire” arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin, Japan accounts for about 20% of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater, and each year experiences up to 2,000 quakes that can be felt by people.

Following are some major Japanese quakes in the last 30 years:

– On Jan. 16, 1995, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit central Japan, devastating the western port city of Kobe. The worst earthquake to hit the country in 50 years killed more than 6,400 and caused an estimated $100 billion in damage.

– On Oct. 23, 2004, a 6.8 magnitude quake struck the Niigata region, about 250 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, killing 65 people and injuring 3,000.

– On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan, killing nearly 20,000 people and causing a meltdown in Fukushima, leading to the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

– On April 16, 2016, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck in Kumamoto on the southern island of Japan, killing more than 220 people.

– On June 18, 2018, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Osaka, Japan‘s second-biggest metropolis, killed four people, injured hundreds more and halted factory lines in an industrial area.

– On Sept. 6, 2018, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake paralysed Japan‘s northern island of Hokkaido, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

– On Feb. 13, 2021, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima in eastern Japan, injuring dozens of people and triggering widespread power outages.

– On March 16, 2022, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolted the coast off Fukushima again, leaving two dead and 94 injured and reviving memories of the quake and tsunami that crippled the same region just over a decade earlier.

—Writing by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker