An Immense Earthquake Could Cripple Japan And Send The Whole World Into Recession
The island of Japan just happens to sit upon some of the biggest fault lines on the planet, so when earthquakes strike there, they strike hard. Remember the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan? That was just nature warming up. Scientists are predicting that the chances of a magnitude 8 or 9 earthquake striking population centers within the next 30 years are 70 freaking percent. Such a Big One could rack up to 323,000 casualties, because not only would this quake (and its bff, the massive tsunami) hit population centers, it would happen with only around five minutes of warning -- a less than ideal timeframe when you need to evacuate millions. In response to this terrifying prospect, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has advised his citizens to be "calmly and appropriately afraid."
The epicenter of the predicted quake also happens to be the heart of Japanese manufacturing, so a large enough disaster could wipe out its economy overnight. And if you're thinking "So what? I have enough Nintendo games to last me a lifetime" you're seriously underestimating how much of your life is Made in Japan. The area that this terrifying quake is predicted to strike happens to be the home of Toyota, as well as most of Boeing's factories. It's also where the leading global manufacturer of industrial robots is based, where half of the world's musical instruments are made, and where the factories that make the parts for one-third of the world's smartphones are located. So unless you like the idea traveling half a day on horseback because your buddy sent you a pigeon message inviting you to a jug-blowing concert, start worrying about Japan a whole lot more.