On a seemingly ordinary Monday afternoon, western Japan was struck by a catastrophic 7.5 magnitude earthquake, igniting a series of events that sent the nation into a state of emergency. The quake, occurring at 4:10 p.m. local time, was centered 42 kilometers (26 miles) northeast of Anamizu in Ishikawa prefecture.
It originated from a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). In response to the seismic event, the Japan Meteorological Agency swiftly issued a tsunami warning for the coastal regions of western Japan.
The prediction became a reality within minutes, as the first tsunami waves, measuring around 1.2 meters (3.9 feet), battered the coast near the city of Wajima in Ishikawa prefecture by 4:21 p.m. Fortunately, initial reports indicated no immediate damage.
However, the situation remained grim in the city of Noto, also in Ishikawa prefecture, where a major tsunami warning was in effect. Authorities anticipated waves reaching approximately 5 meters, underscoring the urgency for residents to seek safety.
🚨🇯🇵 MASSIVE DAMAGE REPORTED | SERIES OF 3 EARTHQUAKES HIT JAPAN
7.5, 6.2, and 5.5 magnitude earthquakes hit Anamizu, a coastal town in Ishikawa area of central Japan, home to about 8,000 residents.
Evacuation orders and tsunami warnings issued for the region.
Source: AP pic.twitter.com/RyqzFWaCoc — Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) January 1, 2024
Response and Aftermath
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshimasa Hayashi, in a televised address, implored residents in the affected areas to evacuate to higher ground immediately.
NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, aired footage depicting the quake's impact - cameras shook violently as the tsunami waves crashed against the coastline. The quake not only triggered tsunamis but also caused significant structural damage.
Images surfaced showing collapsed roofs and unstable foundations of houses in the region. Social media further captured the quake's aftermath - store aisles in disarray, and a train station platform sign oscillating intensely.
The tremor's impact extended to utilities, with over 32,500 homes in Ishikawa prefecture losing power, as per Hokuriku Electric Power. Moreover, the main quake was followed by potent aftershocks. A notable 6.2 magnitude aftershock struck near Anamizu just eight minutes later, and two more tremors of 5.2 and 5.6 magnitude were recorded in close proximity.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reassured the public, stating that the government would ensure the dissemination of timely and accurate information regarding the disaster.