Powerful Japan earthquake leaves four dead and more than 100 injured

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the northeast coast of Japan late Wednesday left four people dead and 107 injured, bringing back the memories of a devastating tsunami in 2011.

The quake was felt strongly in Tokyo, where buildings swayed for more than a minute. NHK said a high-speed ball train carrying 96 passengers had derailed, but there were no reports of injuries.

The initial quake caused a strong aftershock, and the state Meteorological Agency warned of further quakes in the coming days.

Companies including Toyota, Nissan and chipmaker Rensas have been forced to cease operations at factories in the area.

The quake struck at 23:36 local time, triggering a tsunami warning for coastal areas including the disrupted Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant that was hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake 11 years ago. This earthquake caused a huge tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and sparked mass evacuations around the nuclear plant.

But the Japan Meteorological Agency reported observations of a tsunami of only 20 cm or less following the earthquake on Wednesday, which struck about 60 km below sea level. The tsunami alert has been removed.

Tokyo Electric, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi plant, said it had not identified any deviations in the radioactive levels. Fire alarms activated in the building containing one of the reactors at the plant, where dismantling work is continuing, turned out to be false, the company said.

They added that pumps that allow cooling of fuel rods in two reactors at the nearby Fukushima Daini plant, which had been shut down due to the earthquake, were reactivated.

Immediately afterwards, emergency services ordered people to stay away from the beach and river estuaries, saying people in the immediate vicinity of the sea should look for higher ground.

“There were two smoothies. The first one was not so bad, but the second one was extremely strong,” he told the Financial Times shortly after the shaking of Hiroko Watanabe, a Fukushima resident who runs a small company in the city. “There’s a black out in the neighborhood and my house is completely black. Let’s hope they fix it by tomorrow morning.”

Yumiko Ohashi, a retiree in the northern Japanese city of Sendai, said the shaking caused several items to crash off the shelves. Neighbors began to gather on the street. “I think everyone is fine here. Unfortunately, we’re used to it,” she said.

There were power outages in central Tokyo and firefighters on the streets with sirens hovering immediately after the quake. About 100,000 people in northeastern Japan were still without electricity on Thursday morning, the local electricity company said.

Pomio Kishida, the prime minister, said the government was “focusing on making efforts to understand the situation, provide victims with support together with local authorities and offer information to the people”.

The government has set up an emergency response office. Kishida instructed officials to gather information and spare no effort to help the injured and respond to the quake’s victims.

The magnitude of the quake was first reported at 7.3 and later updated to 7.4.

Powerful Japan earthquake leaves four dead and more than 100 injured Source link Powerful Japan earthquake leaves four dead and more than 100 injured

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