Approximately 1,500 earthquakes are recorded in Japan every year. The magnitude of each earthquake varies, and larger earthquakes between 4 and 7 on the Richter scale regularly occur. Records from the early 1990s indicate that there are 40 active volcanoes in Japan, which is 10 percent of the world total.
As of 2014, the most recent major earthquake that occurred in Japan was on March 11, 2011, which registered as a 9.0 on the Richter scale. The earthquake occurred 371 kilometres off the shores of Tokyo and generated a tsunami which damaged the country's northeastern shores. Prior to this earthquake, the previous major earthquake to hit Japan occurred in 1923, which resulted in 130,000 fatalities.