Japan: Urgent Evacuations Advised by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi

On Monday afternoon, western Japan was shaken by a severe 7.5 magnitude earthquake, leading to widespread tsunami warnings, even as far as eastern Russia.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Japan: Urgent Evacuations Advised by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi
© Getty Images/Tomohiro Ohsumi

On Monday afternoon, western Japan was shaken by a severe 7.5 magnitude earthquake, leading to widespread tsunami warnings, even as far as eastern Russia. The epicenter, located 42 kilometers northeast of Anamizu in Ishikawa prefecture, was a mere 10 kilometers below the earth's surface, as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Japan Meteorological Agency rapidly issued tsunami warnings across the western coastal regions, with the first waves hitting the shores just minutes after the quake.

Devastating Aftermath and Government Response

However, the situation was more severe in other parts of Ishikawa.

Suzu city officials reported significant building damage and injuries, with police stating that some residents were trapped in damaged houses. Despite these challenges, no deaths were reported at the time. In Noto city, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning, anticipating waves as high as 5 meters.

This was the first major tsunami warning since the disastrous events of 2011, according to an Ishikawa prefecture’s disaster management agency spokesperson. Amidst this crisis, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshimasa Hayashi, addressed the nation, urging residents in affected areas to evacuate to higher ground.

NHK footage showed the quake's violent impact, with cameras shaking and waves crashing along the coastline. The tremor caused considerable structural damage, with images depicting collapsed roofs and unstable building foundations.

The earthquake also led to disruptions in public services, including the suspension of some Shinkansen bullet train services. Social media was flooded with videos showing the quake's aftermath, including disheveled store aisles and intense shaking at train stations.

Over 32,500 homes in Ishikawa prefecture lost power, according to Hokuriku Electric Power Company. However, Kansai Electric Power Company reported no abnormalities at nuclear plants in the region. Adding to the initial quake, the USGS recorded several strong aftershocks, including a 6.2 magnitude tremor near Anamizu.

The country’s weather agency warned of potential powerful aftershocks in the coming days, raising concerns about building collapses and landslides.

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