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Tokyo 5.5 earthquake: Strong earthquake hits Tokyo, shakes tall buildings

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A Tokyo 5.5 earthquake caused widespread panic in the city and those in Tokyo say that even tall buildings were shook by the powerful earthquake. The 5.5 earthquake took place off the eastern coast of Japan's Chiba prefecture, according to a Dec. 14 report from RT News.

Although the Tokyo 5.5 earthquake alarmed many residents, a tsunami warning was not issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

The 5.5 earthquake reportedly struck at a depth of 36 kilometers and for a short period of time, Tokyo's dense network of trains, subways and bus lines were interrupted temporarily.

The recent Tokyo 5.5 earthquake follows another 5.5 earthquake that occurred just a month ago. During that earthquake, tremors were felt from inside Tokyo skyscrapers, and the city’s high-speed train service were halted as a precaution.

Tokyo is no stranger to earthquakes and the whole island nation of Japan is known for frequent earthquakes. Live Science reports that an estimated 1,500 earthquakes strike the nation every year. Minor tremors happen almost daily and unfortunately, deadly earthquakes are a frequent event.

Although the recent Tokyo 5.5 earthquake wasn't considered as being devastating, government officials in Tokyo say that a "super" earthquake is long overdue because there hasn't been a major earthquake event in the Tokyo area for 89 years.

Throughout the past few years, the Japanese government has enforced measures to make buildings more resistant to earthquakes in known disaster zones. They have also enacted several measures to make sure households are prepared for earthquakes. An example of this is the Japanese government's order to households which requires them to keep a survival kit consisting of water and food to last a few days, a flashlight, a radio and a first aid kit; and are advised not to position heavy objects where they could easily fall during an earthquake and hamper their response or cause harm

Following the major Tokyo earthquake back in 2011, seismic activity in the Tokyo area greatly increased. According to Japan Talk, in 2012, there was an average of 1.5 earthquakes every day in Tokyo. However, most of these were too small to notice.

The aforementioned Tokyo 5.5 earthquake as well as other seismic events have prompted the University of Tokyo to revise its earthquake predictions for the Tokyo area. They now say there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7 quake within 4 years. Over the next 30 years, the probability of a Tokyo earthquake (over magnitude 7) rises to 98%.

"Tokyo sits at the boundary of the Pacific, Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates. It's one of the most earthquake prone cities in the World. If you plan to visit Tokyo it's important to be prepared for a big earthquake.

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The (average) time between major earthquakes in Tokyo has historically been around 50 years. For example, there were major Tokyo earthquakes in 1703, 1782, 1812, 1855, and 1923," Japan Talk writes.

The question is no longer will there be a catastrophic Tokyo earthquake in the near future. The question is: when will it happen?

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