Disasters & Accidents

At least 2 killed, nearly 100 injured in M7.4 Japan earthquake

(Update 2: changes headline, lede, updates throughout)

Tokyo, Mar 17 (EFE).- At least two people have died and 92 have been injured after a magnitude-7.4 earthquake shook the northeast coast of Japan overnight, authorities reported Thursday.

The earthquake occurred at 11.36 pm local time (14:36 GMT) on Wednesday off the coast of Fukushima and Miyagi, where a tsunami alert was activated and waves of around 30 centimeters were recorded Thursday morning.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), which initially estimated the magnitude of the earthquake at 7.3, has raised it to 7.4, and has updated the depth of the epicenter from 60 to 57 kilometers.

In a preliminary evaluation, injuries and/or deaths have been recorded in seven prefectures and power blackouts affected over 2 million homes in northeast and east Japan.

On Thursday morning, the high-speed train service linking the capital with the north of the country was suspended due to the derailment of a Shinkansen bullet train traveling from Tokyo to Sendai (Miyagi) with 75 passengers and crew, who were not injured.

The JMA has asked citizens to take precautions against the risk of earthquakes of similar intensity in the same areas in the coming days.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said there have been no abnormalities found at nuclear power plants, according to Kyodo news.

Tokyo Electric Power Company said water pumps in spent fuel storage pools at two reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daini plant temporarily stopped working, but no change was reported in radiation levels, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The same region was the scene of the 2011 M9 earthquake off the coast of Japan that triggered a tsunami up to 40 meters high, killing around 20,000 people and causing a nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Situated on the so-called Ring of Fire, Japan is prone to earthquakes and has some of the world’s most rigorous building codes. EFE


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