Ishikawa, Japan: A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck western Japan on Monday, causing significant disruptions and triggering tsunami warnings. The quake, centered in the Ishikawa prefecture, led to the downgrading of a “major tsunami warning” for the city of Noto to a “tsunami warning,” as reported by Japan’s Meteorological Agency and public broadcaster NHK.
The earthquake, which occurred around 4:10 p.m. local time, resulted in widespread damage, including flattened buildings, power outages, and disrupted communications. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa indicated that up to 33,000 households might be affected by power outages. Notably, the Shika nuclear power plant in Ishikawa prefecture experienced issues with its power converter, although no major problems were reported.
The impact of the quake was extensive, with at least five highways closed and six people reportedly trapped under rubble in Ishikawa prefecture. The quake also hindered medical services, as some doctors were unable to reach hospitals due to damaged roads. Hospitals in Suzu city operated on spare generators, and medical staff in Wajima treated patients in a parking lot.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized prioritizing human lives and assessing damages, urging those in affected areas to stay alert and prioritize personal safety. The quake led to tsunami warnings in various regions, including Wajima City and Toyama City, with waves reaching up to 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) in some areas. Noto City remained under a major tsunami warning, expecting waves of around 5 meters (16.4 feet).
This earthquake brings back memories of the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami, which caused significant damage and raised concerns about nuclear safety in Japan. Since then, Japan has updated safety measures at nuclear plants and increased imports of natural gas and coal for energy needs.
Authorities continue to monitor the situation, including potential aftershocks, and are working to assess and address the extensive damage caused by this natural disaster.