Japan Earthquake News: Powerful earthquake in northern Japan kills four, injures over 90

A powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Fukushima in northern Japan on Wednesday evening, shattering furniture, knocking out electricity and killing four people. A small tsunami reached the shore, but the low risk advisory was lifted Thursday morning. The area is part of northern Japan that was devastated 11 years ago by a deadly 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that caused nuclear reactor meltdowns, spewing massive radiation that still renders some parts uninhabitable.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary session on Thursday morning that four people died in the quake and their cause of death is under investigation, while 97 others were injured. A man in his 60s in the town of Soma died after falling from the second floor of his house while trying to evacuate, and a man in his 60s panicked and suffered a heart attack, Kyodo News reported more early.

The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted its low tsunami warning along the coasts of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures early Thursday. Tsunami waves of 30 centimeters (11 inches) reached the shore in Ishinomaki, about 390 kilometers (242 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

The agency increased the magnitude of the quake to 7.4 from 7.3 initially, and the depth from 60 kilometers (36 miles) under the sea to 56 kilometers (35 miles).

NHK footage showed shattered walls of a department store fallen to the ground and shards of windows strewn across the street near the main station in the inner prefectural capital of Fukushima city. Roads were cracked and water was leaking from underground pipes.

Footage also showed smashed furniture and appliances on the floor in apartments in Fukushima. Cosmetics and other convenience store merchandise fell off the shelves and strewn across the floor. In Yokohama, near Tokyo, an electric pole almost fell.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant where cooling systems failed after the 2011 disaster, said workers found no abnormalities at the site, which is being dismantling.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority said a fire alarm went off in the Fukushima Daiichi’s No. 5 reactor turbine building, but there was no actual fire. Water pumps in the spent fuel cooling pool at two of Fukushima Daini’s four reactors briefly stopped, but then resumed operation. Fukushima Daini, which survived the 2011 tsunami, is also to be downgraded.

According to the Tohoku Electric Power Co. which serves the area.

The quake rocked large parts of eastern Japan, including Tokyo, where buildings swayed violently.

East Japan Railway Co. said most of its train services had been suspended for security checks. Some local trains then resumed service.

Many people formed long queues outside major stations waiting for trains to resume late Wednesday, but trains in Tokyo operated as normal Thursday morning.

A Tohoku Shinkansen express train partially derailed between Fukushima and Miyagi due to the quake, but no one was injured, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

He told reporters that the government was assessing the extent of the damage and promised to do everything possible for rescue and relief operations.

“Please act first to save your life,” Kishida tweeted.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said authorities were working to assess the damage. “We are doing our best in rescue operations and putting people’s lives first,” he said.

He urged people in affected areas to be extra cautious for possible major aftershocks for about a week.


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