A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.6 rocked Japan on the first day of the new year, triggering a tsunami warning and causing widespread damage and injuries. The quake struck at 04:10 local time, 36 kilometers northeast of Anamizu, a town in Ishikawa prefecture on the western coast of Honshu island.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas facing the Sea of Japan, urging residents to evacuate immediately to higher ground. The agency warned of possible waves up to 5 meters high.
The quake was felt strongly in Tokyo and other regions, shaking buildings and disrupting transportation. According to NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, more than 100 people were injured, mostly by falling objects or glass shards.
Some houses collapsed and landslides occurred in some areas. A motorsport complex in Fukushima prefecture was buried by a landslide, but no one was injured. The quake also caused power outages in nearly one million households and water supply disruptions in some areas.
The JMA said the quake was believed to be an aftershock of the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 18,000 people and triggered a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The agency said aftershocks could continue for several days or weeks, and urged people to stay alert and prepared. The chief cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Kato, said there were no reports of abnormalities at nuclear plants, including Fukushima Daiichi.
The quake came just three weeks before the 10th anniversary of the 2011 disaster, which was commemorated by various events and ceremonies across the country. Many people expressed their shock and fear on social media, recalling the trauma of 10 years ago. Some also expressed their gratitude for surviving the quake and their solidarity with those affected.
The earthquake was also felt in neighboring countries, such as South Korea, China and Taiwan, but no significant damage or casualties were reported.