Japan is known for its big earthquakes, like the most recent one in Fukushima, or the previous one in Kobe. But, in order to understand the true scale of the effect on this island nation, we should look at all of the earthquakes− both big and small. We can do this with the help of the following chart, which plots all of the earthquakes in Japan since March 11, 2011. All 4.4K+ of them!
Of course, the most powerful earthquakes are much rarer, but there have been about 20 of them in the last 20 years or so:
And when a big earthquake does happen, even the newest infrastructures are not guaranteed to survive, as can be seen in this picture from the Kobe earthquake in 1995, which took 6,434 lives:
The picture above shows the collapse of the Shinkansen bullet train line railroad.
A friend of mine was visiting Japan just 4 days before the Fukushima earthquake and traveled around that very area, but was fortunate enough to leave for the US just before the disaster. I hope that nothing that devastating will happen in Japan ever again. However, the less-powerful earthquakes (6.0 or stronger) are pretty predictable, and will likely occur at a rate of one per year.