A view of the Inaho district in the northern part of Okushiri island shows the aftermath of tsunami which followed the massive earthquake. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1993 - The fiercest earthquake to hit Japan in 25 years killed at least 230 people and unleashed a catastrophic round of fires and tidal waves that wrecked villages along the north coast. “We fear that more people could have died,” said Yukio Koshimori, a mayor on the island of Okushiri, which seemed to suffer most from the undersea quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale that jolted Hokkaido, Japan’s main northern island. It was the strongest earthquake to strike Japan since a tremor registering 7.9 in 1968. The toll was the highest from a quake for 10 years. Sheets of flame raced through the town of Aonae, destroying 340 homes.

Other important events

1941 - British-Soviet mutual aid pact of the Second World War is signed.

1944 - Britain’s Royal Air Force becomes the first air force to use jet aircraft.

1962 - The Rolling Stones give their first public performance at Marquee Club in London.

1971 - The Australian Aboriginal flag is flown for the first time.

1977 - The US space shuttle Enterprise completes its first free flight test.

1979 - Kiribati becomes independent from Britain.

1983 - Britain and China begin negotiations on the return of Hong Kong to China.

1998 - France wins the football World Cup for the first time.

2000 - The long-delayed International Space Station’s service module is lifted into orbit.

2008 - Syria and Lebanon agree to set up diplomatic ties.

2012 - At least 95 people kill in oil tanker fire near Port Harcourt, Nigeria.