A series of earthquakes centered on Chiba Prefecture over the past week has been making local residents jittery, prompting them to stock up on emergency supplies to prepare for a possible major quake.

Three earthquakes measuring shindo 4 on the Japanese seven-level seismic intensity scale have occurred since Thursday, with experts linking the tremors to a phenomenon known as a “slow slip” in the tectonic plates.

Emergency food and supplies have been selling out at local stores. According to Tetsuyuki Muranaka, store manager at the Mobara Chosei branch of home center franchise Home Plaza Nafco, sales of emergency supplies at his outlet — near the eastern coast of Chiba Prefecture — went up fivefold over the weekend.