Large earthquake slams Japan, residents flee some coastal areas


TOPSHOT – This picture taken in Hong Kong on January 1, 2024 exhibits a warning message on a display screen from a stay feed on NHK World asking folks to evacuate from the realm after a collection of main earthquakes hit central Japan. A robust 7.5 earthquake hit central Japan on January 1, the USGS stated, prompting tsunami warnings and authorities to induce folks within the space to maneuver to increased floor. (Photograph by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photograph by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

Mladen Antonov | Afp | Getty Photographs

A robust earthquake struck central Japan on Monday, triggering warnings for residents to evacuate some areas on its west coast, destroying buildings, knocking out energy to 1000’s of houses and disrupting journey to the area.

The quake with a preliminary magnitude of seven.6 triggered waves of round 1 metre alongside elements of the Sea of Japan coast, with authorities saying bigger waves may comply with.

The Japan Meteorological Company issued tsunami warnings for the coastal prefectures of Ishikawa, Niigata and Toyama. A serious tsunami warning — the primary because the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan — was initially issued for Ishikawa however later downgraded.

Russia additionally issued tsunami warnings in its far jap cities of Vladivostok and Nakhodka.

A number of homes have been destroyed and military models have been dispatched to assist with rescue operations, high authorities spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi advised reporters, including that authorities had been nonetheless assessing the extent of the harm.

Extra robust quakes within the space, the place seismic exercise has been simmering for greater than three years, may happen over coming days, JMA official Toshihiro Shimoyama stated.

ANKARA, TURKIYE – JANUARY 01: An infographic titled ‘Collection of highly effective earthquakes strikes Japan, triggering tsunami alert’ created in Ankara, Turkiye on January 1, 2024. (Photograph by Muhammed Ali Yigit/Anadolu by way of Getty Photographs)

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Photographs

In feedback to the press shortly after the quake struck, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida additionally warned residents to organize for extra disasters.

“Residents want to remain on alert for additional doable quakes and I urge folks in areas the place tsunamis are anticipated to evacuate as quickly as doable,” Kishida stated.

“Run!” a shiny yellow warning flashed throughout tv screens advising residents in particular areas of the coast to right away evacuate their houses.

Photographs carried by native media confirmed a constructing collapsing in a plume of mud within the coastal metropolis of Suzu and an enormous crack in a highway in Wajima the place panicked-looking dad and mom clutched their youngsters. There have been stories of at the least 30 collapsed buildings in Wajima, NHK reported, citing the town’s fireplace division.

The quake additionally jolted buildings within the capital Tokyo, some 500 km from Wajima on the other coast.

Greater than 36,000 households had misplaced energy in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures, utilities supplier Hokuriku Electrical Energy stated.

Excessive velocity rail providers to Ishikawa have been suspended whereas telecomoperators Softbank and KDDI reported cellphone and web service disruptions in Ishikawa and Niigata, based on their web sites.

Japanese airline ANA turned again planes headed to airports in Toyama and Ishikawa, whereas Japan Airways cancelled most of its providers to Niigata and Ishikawa areas and authorities stated one in every of Ishikawa’s airports was closed.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority stated no irregularities have been confirmed at nuclear energy vegetation alongside the Sea of Japan, together with 5 lively reactors at Kansai Electrical Energy’s Ohi and Takahama vegetation in Fukui Prefecture.

Hokuriku’s Shika plant in Ishikawa, the closest nuclear energy station to the quake’s epicentre, had already halted its two reactors earlier than the quake for normal inspections and noticed no influence from the quake, the company stated.

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami killed almost 20,000 folks and devastated cities and triggered nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima.

One other quake, referred to as the Nice Hanshin Earthquake, hit western Japan in 1995, killing greater than 6,000 folks, primarily within the metropolis of Kobe.

Monday’s quake struck through the Jan. 1 public vacation when hundreds of thousands of Japanese historically go to temples to mark the brand new 12 months.

In Kanazawa, a well-liked vacationer vacation spot in Ishikawa, photographs confirmed the remnants of a collapsed gate strewn on the entrance of a shrine as anxious worshippers appeared on.

Kanazawa resident Ayako Daikai stated she had evacuated to a close-by elementary college along with her husband and two youngsters quickly after the earthquake hit. Lecture rooms, stairwells, hallways and the gymnasium had been all filled with evacuees, she stated.

“I additionally skilled the Nice Hanshin Earthquake, so I believed it could be most secure to evacuate,” she advised Reuters when contacted by phone.

“We’ve not determined when to return house but.”

The jolt was additionally felt by vacationers who had flocked to Japan’s mountainous Nagano area for the beginning of the snow sports activities season.

Johnny Wu, a 50-year-old Taiwanese snowboarder, was ready for a shuttle bus again to his resort within the resort city of Hakuba when the quake hit, rattling home windows and shaking snow of roofs and overhead electrical wires.

“Everyone was panicked at the moment. I am somewhat bit higher as a result of, I come from Taiwan, so I’ve skilled loads. However nonetheless, (I am) nonetheless frightened about (the quake) getting extra critical,” he stated.

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