Japan's History of Massive Earthquakes
The Great Kanto Earthquake, 1923
At 11:58 AM on September 1, 1923 an earthquake that lasted several minutes hit the Kanto region. The seismic energy of the quake read at 7.9 on the Richter scale and devastated Tokyo as well as the surrounding prefectures. Casualties were approximately 100,000 civilians, while 40,000 more civilians were missing and later presumed dead. Since 1960, the anniversary of this quake has become known as Disaster Prevention Day, when emergency drills are organized by local officials throughout the country. The total cost of the damages caused by the quake was reported at US $102.5 billion, about 2.5% of the country's GDP at the time.