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70% chance Tokyo region to be hit by large quake: institute

(Xinhua)

10:40, January 24, 2012

Streets are flooded after the earthquake in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, Japan, March 12, 2011. At least 630 people were killed after Friday's great earthquake and ensuing huge tsunami hit northeast Japan, public broadcaster NHK reported Saturday. (Xinhua/Kyodo)

TOKYO - The University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute said Monday the risk of a big earthquake hitting the southern Kanto region including Tokyo in the next four years is as high as 70 percent.

The increased risk, according to Naoshi Hirata, a professor at the institute and a member of the research team who compiled the latest report, is due to the disruption caused to tectonic plates following the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck on March 11.

The earthquake leveled much of Japan's eastern seaboard and triggered a huge tsunami that sparked one of the world's worst- ever nuclear disasters at a power plant in Japan's northeast.

The institute said that it had noticed an increase in seismic activity in the southern Kanto region in the months following March's massive temblor and said that quakes with of more than magnitude-3.0 have been occurring five times more frequently than usual.

The research team said that in light of the increased frequency of quakes in the region, there is a 70 percent likelihood is that a magnitude-7.0 quake in the region will hit the region over the next four years.

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