The New Year happened shockingly in Japan on Monday morning. A significant tsunami warning was issued for the central prefecture of Ishikawa following an earthquake that struck a broad region along the Sea of Japan coast on Monday, disrupting the joyous atmosphere of the New Year’s celebrations. The preliminary magnitude of the earthquake was 7.6.
Japan is rocked by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the earthquake struck at 4:10 p.m. and registered a maximum of 7.6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa. It also rattled buildings in central Tokyo.
A 1.2-meter-tall tsunami made landfall at Wajima Port in the area. According to the central government, there were six instances of people being buried alive in Wajima on the peninsula as a result of houses collapsing. Following the earthquake, a massive fire also started in the city, and collapsed houses were reported in several other municipalities.
The earthquake was felt across a large area, extending from the southwestern region of Kyushu to Hokkaido in northern Japan. There were advisories and warnings about tsunamis for prefectures near the Sea of Japan. According to the news agency Interfax, the Russian government issued a tsunami warning for Sakhalin’s western coastal region in the Far East in response to the earthquake in Japan.
Both South Korea and North Korea, according to local media and authorities, issued similar alerts for their eastern coastal areas.
The region of Noto, which is prone to large earthquakes, was the epicenter of the event. The meteorological department said it was very shallow. The region was still periodically shaking. 2018 saw Hokkaido record its last earthquake with a maximum Japanese intensity of 7.
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in 2011 and led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis are the reason for the first major tsunami warning to be issued.
The agency issued a warning, stating that during the next week, particularly in the coming days, areas that were severely impacted this time around could be struck by earthquakes with a seismic intensity of about 7.
In Awara, Fukui Prefecture, multiple injuries were reported, including two women who were hospitalized after falling or being struck by falling objects, according to local authorities. In Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, an 80-year-old woman was injured in the head after falling during the evacuation process. Approximately 32,500 homes in Ishikawa lost electricity.
Over 51,000 individuals across five prefectures were advised to leave, as stated by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The Defense Ministry stated that the Self-Defense Forces are responding by providing blankets, water, and food to the approximately 1,000 residents and others who were evacuated to an Air Self-Defense Force base in Wajima.
According to the central government, SDF members were asked to go on a disaster relief mission by Ishikawa Gov. Hiroshi Hase. The meteorological agency confirmed tsunamis were also seen in the prefectures of Niigata and Toyama.
After the earthquake, the Japanese government, which established an emergency response office at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, stated that no anomalies had been reported at any of the nation’s nuclear plants. Due to the earthquake, East Japan Railway temporarily halted service on all of its Shinkansen lines, including the Tohoku, Joetsu, and Hokuriku lines.
When a tsunami warning was issued, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida advised locals to “evacuate immediately.” According to Kishida, the government will accurately notify people about evacuation, quickly determine the true extent of the damage, and collaborate with local governments to protect human life.