The 1995 Kobe quake highlighted the inadequacy of Japan's precautions
Earthquakes have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the last 100 years and improvements in technology have only slightly reduced the death toll.
14 April 2010:
At least 400 people die after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes western China's Qinghai province.
27 February 2010:
A magnitude 8.8 earthquake hits central Chile north-east of the second city, Concepcion. Official figures put the number of people killed at 452, but many are still missing.
12 January 2010:
About 230,000 die in and around the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, as a 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes the city.
30 September 2009:
At least 1,000 people die and at least 1,000 remain missing after an earthquake strikes the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
6 April 2009:
An earthquake hits the historic Italian city of L'Aquila, killing about 300 people.
29 October 2008:
Up to 300 people are killed in the Pakistani province of Balochistan after an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck 70km (45 miles) north of Quetta.
12 May 2008:
Up to 87,000 people are killed or missing and as many as 370,000 injured by an earthquake in just one county in China's south-western Sichuan province.
The tremor, measuring 7.8, struck 92km (57 miles) from the provincial capital Chengdu during the early afternoon.
15 August 2007:
At least 519 people are killed in Peru's coastal province of Ica, as a 7.90-magnitude undersea earthquake strikes about 145km (90 miles) south-east of the capital, Lima.
17 July 2006:
A 7.7 magnitude undersea earthquake triggers a tsunami that strikes a 200km (125-mile) stretch of the southern coast of Java, killing more than 650 people on the Indonesian island.
27 May 2006:
More than 5,700 people die when a magnitude 6.2 quake hits the Indonesian island of Java, devastating the city of Yogyakarta and surrounding areas.
1 April 2006:
Seventy people are killed and some 1,200 injured when an earthquake measuring 6.0 strikes a remote region of western Iran.
8 October 2005:
An earthquake measuring 7.6 strikes northern Pakistan and the disputed Kashmir region, killing more than 73,000 people and leaving millions homeless.
28 March 2005:
About 1,300 people are killed in an 8.7 magnitude quake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Nias, west of Sumatra.
22 February 2005:
Hundreds die in a 6.4 magnitude quake centred in a remote area near Zarand in Iran's Kerman province.
26 December 2004:
Hundreds of thousands are killed across Asia when an earthquake measuring 9.2 triggers sea surges that spread across the region.
24 February 2004:
At least 500 people die in an earthquake which strikes towns on Morocco's Mediterranean coast.
26 December 2003:
More than 26,000 people are killed when an earthquake destroys the historic city of Bam in southern Iran.
21 May 2003:
Algeria suffers its worst earthquake in more than two decades. More than 2,000 people die and more than 8,000 are injured in a quake felt across the sea in Spain.
1 May 2003:
More than 160 people are killed, including 83 children in a collapsed dormitory, in south-eastern Turkey.
24 February 2003:
More than 260 people die and almost 10,000 homes are destroyed in Xinjiang region, in western China.
31 October 2002:
Italy is traumatised by the loss of an entire class of children, killed in the southern village of San Giuliano di Puglia when their school building collapses on them.
26 January 2001:
An earthquake measuring magnitude 7.9 devastates much of Gujarat state in north-western India, killing nearly 20,000 people and making more than a million homeless. Bhuj and Ahmedabad are among the towns worst hit.
12 November 1999:
Around 400 people die when an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale strikes Ducze, in north-west Turkey.
21 September 1999:
Taiwan is hit by a quake measuring 7.6 that kills nearly 2,500 people and causes damage to every town on the island.
17 August 1999:
An magnitude 7.4 earthquake rocks the Turkish cities of Izmit and Istanbul, leaving more than 17,000 dead and many more injured.
30 May 1998:
Northern Afghanistan is hit by a major earthquake, killing 4,000 people.
More than 1,600 killed in Birjand, eastern Iran, in an earthquake of magnitude 7.1.
27 May 1995:
The far eastern island of Sakhalin is hit by a massive earthquake, measuring 7.5, which claims the lives of 1,989 Russians.
17 January 1995:
The Hyogo quake hits the city of Kobe in Japan, killing 6,430 people.
30 September 1993:
About 10,000 villagers are killed in western and southern India.
21 June 1990:
Around 40,000 people die in a tremor in the northern Iranian province of Gilan.
7 December 1988:
An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale devastates north-west Armenia, killing 25,000 people.
19 September 1985:
Mexico City is shaken by a huge earthquake which razes buildings and kills 10,000 people.
4 March 1977:
Some 1,500 people are killed in an earthquake that hit close to the Romanian capital, Bucharest.
28 July 1976:
The Chinese city of Tangshan is reduced to rubble in a quake that claims at least 250,000 lives.
23 December 1972:
Up to 10,000 people are killed in the Nicaraguan capital Managua by an earthquake that measures 6.5 on the Richter scale. The devastation caused by the earthquake was blamed on badly built high-rise buildings that easily collapsed.
31 May 1970:
An earthquake high in the Peruvian Andes triggers a landslide burying the town of Yungay and killing 66,000 people.
26 July 1963:
An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale strikes the Macedonian capital of Skopje killing 1,000 and leaving 100,000 homeless.
22 May 1960:
The world's strongest recorded earthquake devastates Chile, with a reading of 9.5 on the Richter scale. A tsunami 30ft (10m) high eliminates entire villages in Chile and kills 61 hundreds of miles away in Hawaii.
1 September 1923:
The Great Kanto earthquake, with its epicentre just outside Tokyo, claims the lives of 142,800 people in the Japanese capital.
18 April 1906:
San Francisco is hit by a series of violent shocks which last up to a minute. Between 700 and 3,000 people die either from collapsing buildings or in the subsequent fire.