An earthquake that, according to a preliminary assessment, would have a magnitude of 7.6 hit north-central Japan this Monday (1st), prompting a tsunami alert and warnings for residents to evacuate the area that could be hit and prepare for possible new earthquakes.
A tsunami about 1 meter high hit parts of the west coast along the Sea of Japan, with a larger wave of up to 5 meters still expected, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for the coastal prefectures of Ishikawa, Niigata and Toyama.
Government spokesman Hayashi Yoshimasa said at an emergency news conference that authorities were still checking the extent of the damage and warned residents to prepare for possible additional earthquakes.
Images shown by NHK appeared to show buildings collapsing in Ishikawa, and tremors shook buildings in Tokyo on the opposite coast.
More than 36,000 homes were left without power in Ishikawa and Toyama, utility provider Hokuriku said.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said no irregularities had been confirmed at nuclear plants along the Sea of Japan, including five active reactors at the Ohi and Takahama plants in Fukui Prefecture.
The Shika plant in Ishikawa, which was located closest to the quake’s epicenter, had already shut down its two reactors before the quake for regular inspection and was not impacted by the quake, the agency said.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said parts of the west coast of the island of Sakhalin, located near Japan on Russia’s Pacific coast, could also be hit by a tsunami, and that the local population was being evacuated, the state news agency reported. TASS. Tsunami warnings were also issued for the Russian cities of Vladivostok and Nakhodka, in the far east of the country.
South Korea also advised residents of the country’s east coast to seek shelter in high regions.
A massive earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killing nearly 20,000 people, devastating cities and triggering nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima.