Yin Sau Lau/Staff reporter

On October 23, 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 measurings occurred in the Tokamachi area in Japan and cause 4,795 people to be injured.16 years later, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 happened in Japan and affected the Olympics that were being held. 

The Mid-Niigata earthquake happened at 5:56 p.m. on October 23, 2004, in the Chuetsu district of Japanese Niigata Prefecture, which is a rural area with mountain villages.  

The earthquake was caused by a sudden slip on a fault having a length of 22 km and a width of 17 km moved approximately 1.4 m. The first quake struck the Chuetsu area of Niigata Prefecture, which was estimated at 6.6. A second earthquake occurred 16 minutes after the first quake, it had a magnitude of 5.9. 

The major earthquake and six aftershocks of a similar scale have caused 68 deaths and 4,795 injuries, 103,000 residents are rendered homeless. The water mains, extensive electric power, telephone, and Internet outages are broken by the quake. 

Uplifted buried structures-The 2004 Mid-Niigata earthquake

16 years later, on August 04, 2021, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the northeast area of Japan, it hits an area around 25 miles off the coast of Japan, at around 5:30 a.m. local time.  The earthquake causes tremors at Tokyo Olympics, reports say that the tremors last about 20 seconds to 3 minutes. 

The Tokyo Olympic

Fortunately, the earthquake did not cause any injuries, there were no threats of a tsunami. According to the Evening Standard, the Ariake volleyball arena contains “shock-absorbing giant rubber cushions” to curtail shaking. The Olympic Village is protected by sea walls that can protect against tsunamis reaching 6.5 feet.  

 A journalist who came from Australia, Mark Beretta, said that “The roof above us is moving and you might notice our lights and camera are moving as well. That was quite an unusual moment, I have not been through an earthquake before.” 

Many people died in the Mid-Niigata Earthquake 16 years ago, we should learn a lesson from it and prepare well for the earthquake even when it is not close. The risks of a major earthquake must be remembered while hosting the Olympics. 


Geotechnical Distinction of Landslides Induced by Near-Field Earthquakes in Niigata, Japan

2004 Chūetsu earthquake

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake causes tremors at Tokyo Olympics

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes off coast of Japan, rattling the Tokyo Olympic Games


The Mid Niigata prefecture Earthquakes in 2004: Field Report(2)

Uplifted buried structures after the 2004 Niigata-ken Chuetsu

Landslides Triggered by the 2004 Niigata Ken Chuetsu, Japan, Earthquake

The Tokyo Olympic

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake causes tremors at Tokyo Olympics