A strong earthquake with a magnitude of five struck eastern Japan on Sunday. The quake's epicenter was in the southern part of Ibaraki prefecture, east of Tokyo. Buildings shook in the capital, but no damage was reported. Earlier this month, a swarm of quakes was reported near Mount Fuji, and the Tokara Islands, an archipelago that falls within Kagoshima Prefecture, an ominous warning that the next big natural disaster could be nearing.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that experts and government agencies have asked the public to remain calm. They said multiple earthquake swarms near Mount Fuji and the Tokara Islands do not suggest an impending disaster like the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Attempts to keep the public calm are not working as planned. Asahi newspaper alerted readers that "the frequency of tremors indicates that a megaquake could occur in the near future" and warning of "impending doom."
Quakes first hit Mount Fuji around Dec. 3. The seismic activity continued days later. On Dec. 7, more than 200 quakes were reported across the Tokara Islands. The largest was a 4.8 magnitude.
One poster on the Yahoo Japan news website said, "heard a report that the 'Big One' will happen this month, so I am being cautious."
The Meteorological Agency doesn't know what is causing the quake storm, but we've shown before that quake swarming near a volcano has preceded an eruption (read: here).
Last week, a quake swarm off Oregon's coast was reported and had social media a buzz about tsunami risks if the next big one struck.