A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake hits central Japan on Monday afternoon, causing widespread damage, fires, and triggering tsunami alerts as far as eastern Russia. The quake struck at 4:10 p.m. local time in the Noto Peninsula of Ishikawa prefecture, collapsing buildings and prompting evacuations along the coastal areas.
Tragically, six people lost their lives in Ishikawa prefecture, and dozens have been reported injured across multiple prefectures, including Toyama and Niigata. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the quake's depth at 10 kilometers (6 miles).
The Japan Meteorological Agency swiftly issued tsunami warnings along the western coast, with initial waves hitting just over 10 minutes later. While some areas experienced waves, tsunami alerts were later lifted, averting further threats.
In response to the disaster, Japan's defense ministry deployed 1,000 military personnel to aid rescue and recovery efforts. Reports from Suzu city in Ishikawa describe damaged buildings, injuries, and individuals trapped in damaged houses.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a "major tsunami warning," the first since 2011, for Noto but later downgraded it to a "tsunami warning." Although subsequent tsunami warnings were canceled, advisories for waves up to 1 meter (3 feet) persist.
Footage from NHK captured the intense shaking as waves struck the coastline. Houses were rocked, roofs collapsed, and foundations shook. Witnesses reported scenes of panic as the ground trembled, with snow falling from electric wires and roofs.
The earthquake disrupted services of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains, leaving nearly 1,400 passengers stranded for over 11 hours. Social media videos showcased store aisles strewn with goods, emphasizing the quake's impact.
A series of strong aftershocks followed the initial quake, with seismologists predicting possible aftershocks for days to come. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida assured that authorities are actively assessing damage in affected areas.
Waves of less than a meter were reported along Japan’s western coast, and the South Korean Meteorological Administration monitored sea level changes. Tsunami threats extended to eastern Russian cities, including Vladivostok and Nakhodka.
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