There is potential however for something much worse-that same level quake hitting Tokyo. Basically, most of Japan's economy, society, is concentrated in the Tokyo megalopolis. That megalopolis is one of the main pillars of the global economy. And that megalopolis, with the twenty million plus of Japanese, most of that nation's industry, transportation, culture, all of that sits on landfill-loose earth-with fault lines a few miles away.
All the above is quite bad enough.
Unfortunately we too have the potential for a nation-destroying 9+ earthquake.
The New Madrid fault line basically follows the Missisippi River north to south around Missouri, Illinois. The last time that fault let go in the early 19th century it rang church bells in New England, the flat, soft soils transmitting the energy pulse for thousands of miles.
All that was in the early 19th century-at best the area was thinly settled.
Imagine the same quake hitting now. Examine the following maps:
Map of earthquake danger zones... compare with the following....
map of structurally deficient bridges
map of railroads
map of main roads.
map of pipelines
Just comparing the above maps you can quickly deduce that a magnitude 9+ earthquake will for all practical purposes obliterate the Midwest and sever America in two. The economic fallout from such an event alone are nation-ending given the systematic undermining the domestic economy and infrastructure. NO earthquake mitigation methods have been instituted for any of the infrastructure in and around the New Madrid fault zone.
Thousands will certainly die. Millions maybe. Millions more will certainly be dead from starvation, disease, poisoning from the petrochemicals released into the environment, or in desperate battle with others to NOT die of starvation, disease or a poisoned environment.
The political fallout? Certainly the elected civilian governments will be overwhelmed. FEMA will arise to take over as they will likely be the only functional government agency outside the US Military. Kiss what's left of the Constitution goodbye.
There will be literal fallout as well-let this article explain THAT to you: