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When the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Tohoku on March 11 last year, quake researcher Masanobu Shishikura grabbed a tablet computer and called up the website of the U.S. Geological Survey in Virginia to search for information.

Seeing projections of a preliminary magnitude of 8.8 and its location off Miyagi Prefecture, he immediately realized that what his team had long dreaded had finally become reality: a recurrence of the 869 Tohoku megaquake.

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