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Earthquake and tsunami hit Japan

A severe earthquake has hit Japan, causing major structural damage and triggering a tsunami.

Footage released by eye-witnesses shows buildings as well as cars being swept away by the tsunami that followed the earthquake.

Japan has not suffered an earthquake of this magnitude since the Kobe earthquake of 1995, which killed more than 6,000 people and left more than 50,000 residents homeless. The numbers would have been far higher were it not for Japan's leading-edge technology in making buildings that could withstand a certain level of earthquake.
The total cost of repairing the damage caused by the Kobe earthquake was estimated to be $100 billion and it took more than two years to re-open the badly damaged port.
Some people in Japan, as well as other markets, will have bought earthquake insurance on top of their fire insurance policy - it cannot be bought on its own. According to figures from 2008, 45% of the population in Japan added earthquake insurance on top of their fire insurance policy, compared with 33% in 2002.

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