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Powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Japan, knocks out power to millions [Watch]

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 17 March 2022, 9:59 IST

At least 2 people lost their lives and dozens injured in a powerful earthquake that rattled parts of east Japan and prompted a tsunami warning, authorities said Thursday.

Local residents and officials in Japan's northeast part were still trying to assess the damage early on Thursday, following the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit shortly before midnight.

A tsunami advisory for waves of up to a metre in parts of northeast Japan was lifted in the early hours of Thursday, after authorities logged water levels up to 30 cm higher than normal in some parts.

"I heard the ground rumbling. Rather than feeling scared, I immediately remembered the Great East Japan Earthquake," he said, referring to the 2011 disaster. Many smaller tremors continued to strike the region throughout the night and morning on Thursday.

Preliminary reports of damage looked relatively minor, with tough building codes intended to protect against devastation from frequent earthquakes, and officials said there were no irregularities at nuclear plants.

"We're doing our best to assess the extent of the damage," government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters overnight.

"Major aftershocks often happen a couple of days after the first quake, so please stay away from any collapsed buildings... and other high-risk places," he added.

Two people lost their lives in the earthquake, one in the Fukushima region and another one in neighbouring Miyagi, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, with more than 90 people injured across many regions.

The earthquake hit at a depth of 60 km (37 miles) off the Fukushima coast and was preceded minutes earlier by another strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake in the same area, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

The night-time earthquake struck just few days after Japan observed the 11th anniversary of a massive earthquake that caused a deadly tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear mishap.

The massive quake also rattled the capital city and briefly plunged Tokyo and other areas into darkness.

Around two million houses lost power in Tokyo and elsewhere in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, but it was progressively restored throughout the night. Around 35,600 homes in the Miyagi and Fukushima areas were still without electricity on Thursday, TEPCO said.

The country’s Nuclear authority said no flaw were noticed at the Fukushima plant that went into meltdown in 2011 when the tsunami hit, while pumps for cooling pools at some reactors stopped for some time but began working shortly afterwards.

Some damages was reported, including the collapse of a wall at the Aoba castle in Sendai, and Shinkansen bullet train derailed north of Fukushima.

There were no injuries in the bullet train derailment, but 75 passengers and three staff were trapped for four hours before being able to flee. An official in the emergency department of the local government of Ishinomaki told AFP, he had been woken by "extremely violent shaking".


Japan is located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Japan is often struck by earthquakes, but it remains haunted by the memory of the 2011 catastrophe which saw 18,500 people dead or missing, most in the tsunami.

Around the Fukushima nuclear plant, large decontamination has been carried out, and no-go zones now cover 2.4 percent of the area, down from 12 percent, although populations in many areas remain less than before 2011.

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First published: 17 March 2022, 9:59 IST