The powerful earthquakes that struck Kumamoto Prefecture over the past three days have shocked the nation and renewed the public's fear of natural disasters.

But some seismologists were not surprised at all, saying evidence suggested the writing was on the wall, although they didn't know exactly when it would happen.

On Thursday, a magnitude-6.5 quake hit the maximum of 7 on the seven-level Japanese intensity scale, taking the nation by surprise. This was followed by Saturday's magnitude-7.3 quake, which registered as an upper 6.