Earthquake in Japan today: At least four dead as thousands of households are left without power


The death toll from the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on Wednesday evening has risen to four, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Thursday. More than 150 people were injured in Soma town, Fukushima.

The government is on high alert as there is a “strong possibility” of further tremors over the next few days. A magnitude 5.6 aftershock hit about an hour later shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday.

After the earthquake, which occurred around 11:36 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. Although the warning was lifted on Thursday morning, some areas reported rising sea levels. However, there was no serious damage, according to reports.

The earthquake off the coast of Japan came just days after the 11th anniversary of the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

Buildings in Tokyo shook violently and more than two million homes lost power in large parts of eastern Japan, and tens of thousands of Japanese homes were still without power on Thursday – more than 10 hours after the earthquake.

In several areas of Tokyo, power was restored about three hours after the earthquake. But some 24,270 homes, served by the Tohoku Electric Power Co, in northeast Japan, remained without power until at least 10 a.m. Thursday.

People walk on a street during a power outage in Tokyo on Thursday, following an earthquake

(Kyodo News via AP)

Tohoku officials said they expected to restore supply for all later Thursday.

Several companies were quick to assess the damage caused by the earthquake and the supply chain disruption on global production of smartphones, electronics and automobiles, according to Reuters.

Videos from across Japan show sudden power cuts and books or other items falling from shelves. Dramatic images and videos also showed the city’s skyline shaking and explosions or flashes far off in the night sky.

Mr Kishida said Japan’s self-defense forces had been mobilized to assess the damage caused by the devastating earthquake.

He said: “We are still trying to understand the situation and gather information. The government will unite to save people’s lives and do everything possible to ensure safety and provide accurate information.

On Thursday, Japanese officials also moved to access any damage to nuclear power plants in the region. They confirmed that there were no abnormalities at the factories in Fukushima, Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture or Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The floor of a restaurant is covered with broken plates and produce in Fukushima, northeast Japan, late on March 16


This aerial photo shows a partially derailed express train following an earthquake in Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, on Thursday

(Kyodo News via AP)

A Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train derailed between Fukushima Station and Shiroishizao Station, but all 78 passengers and crew on board are uninjured, according to Kyodo News.

Injuries were reported not only in Miyagi and Fukushima, but also in Iwate, Akita, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Saitama, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Chiba and Niigata, according to local news reports.


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