Japan: Blackouts, Injuries As Quake Hits Off Fukushima Coast
No tsunami warning issued as some 950,000 households go initially without electricity and dozens are reported injured.
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake has struck off Japan’s east coast rattling a region hit by very powerful 2011 quake, tsunami and a nuclear meltdown just weeks before the disaster’s 10th anniversary. The earthquake on Saturday produced powerful shaking along the coast and was felt strongly in the capital, Tokyo, but triggered no tsunami alert. Its epicentre was off the coast of the Fukushima
prefecture at a depth of 60 kilometers 36 miles, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It shook buildings for some time after it hit, shortly after 11pm (14:00 GMT). There were no immediate reports of significant damage, though local news broadcast images of a landslide on a highway. Kyodo news agency reported at least 30 people injured, but gave no further details.
Approximately 950,000 homes lost power throughout the affected region, with the blackouts appearing to be concentrated in northeast Japan, including Fukushima and neighbouring prefectures. No abnormalities were reported at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which melted down in the wake of the 2011 disaster, or at Kahiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant, according to owner Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings.
An ambulance is seen in front of a hotel following a strong earthquake in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 13, 2021
Aftershocks continued to rattle the region in the hours afterwards and officials cautioned local residents to be vigilant. A handful of people were reported to have sought shelter at evacuation centres. We are working quickly to collect information but we still have no details to announce. There were some unconfirmed
reports about landslides but we are still checking, Mr Mikihiro Meguro, official from Fukushima prefectural government, told the media. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was called to his office, and broadcaster NHK said the government would set up a special liaison office to coordinate with affected regions.
All messed up
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato addressed reporters after midnight and said evaluations were under way. As far as damage, casualties and structural damage are being assessed, he said, and adding that sections of the bullet train service had been suspended due to power outages. Surveys are being done at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Kato added. We have
received reports that Onagawa nuclear plant and the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant are not showing any abnormality. Images posted online showed broken glass at a shop and items spilled off the shelves at a supermarket. Renowned author Yu Miri, who lives in Fukushima’s Minamisoma city tweeted a photo of her home, showing books, potted plants and some other
belongings strewn across the floor. My house in Odaka, Minamisoma city is all messed up, she wrote. I hear the ground rumbling. And another quake, she tweeted about an aftershock. Earthquakes are very common in Japan, one of the most seismically active areas on the Earth. Japan accounts for about twenty percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude of about 6 or greater.
Triggered by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake, a tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011, overwhelming reactor cooling systems and causing multiple meltdowns in the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Nearly 20,000 people were killed or went missing and 160,000 lost their homes and livelihoods in the massive earthquake and tsunami, which sent radiation over a large area that forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.