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Powerful earthquake off Japan’s west coast prompts tsunami warning


According to Japan’s national broadcaster NHK, a “major tsunami warning” was issued Monday after a powerful earthquake struck northwest of the country’s main island. 

The Japan Meterological Agency reported a quake hitting Ishikawa and nearby prefectures, one of them measuring a preliminary magnitude of 7.4. The U.S. Geological Survey reported one quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5.

Japan Earthquake
A tsunami warning is shown on TV in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 1, 2024 after several powerful earthquakes struck west of the country’s main island.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

There were warnings of possible tsunami as high as 5 meters (16 feet) in Ishikawa, and presenters on the national broadcaster urged people in the region to move quickly to higher ground.

“Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300 km [about 186 miles] of the epicenter along the coasts of Japan,” the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, while the Japan Meteorological Agency warned the waves could be up to five metres high.  

A star indicates the epicenter of an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 that struck northeast of Japan’s main island on Jan. 1, 2024.

U.S. Geological Survey

Power companies that operation nuclear plants in the region said they were checking for any irregularities but reported no immediate problems. A huge earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, devastating a vast swathe of the country’s coastline and triggering nuclear reactor meltdowns in Fukushima.

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