In Japan, a powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the western part of the main island, prompting tsunami alerts and widespread evacuations. The quake, which occurred around 4 p.m., was the most intense among over a dozen tremors recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Significant tsunami warnings were initially issued for Ishikawa Prefecture, with other parts of the country’s western coastline receiving less severe alerts. Although the highest-level alert was subsequently lifted, coastal residents were advised to stay away from their homes due to the risk of deadly waves. Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi emphasized the urgency of evacuation, stating, “Every minute counts. Please evacuate to a safe area immediately.” State broadcaster NHK cautioned residents about the potential rise in water levels, predicting a height of up to 16.5 feet.
A tsunami reaching approximately 10 feet in height was anticipated to hit Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan’s coast. The earthquakes caused widespread disruptions, including train service interruptions, power outages in several regions, and fires in residential buildings, necessitating emergency responses.
The Japanese Self-Defense Force is actively involved in disaster relief efforts across multiple prefectures. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported in connection with these natural disasters. Meteorologists warn of the possibility of additional powerful quakes in the coming days.
The New Year’s Day earthquakes and resulting tsunami concerns have had implications beyond Japan, affecting neighboring countries. Both North Korea and Russia, across the sea, were on alert for potential tsunamis. South Korea’s meteorological authorities also announced increased caution, particularly along the country’s eastern coast, in anticipation of possible delayed effects.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida informed the press about the establishment of an emergency center to gather and share information regarding the ongoing earthquake and tsunami risks. As the situation continues to evolve, tsunami warnings remain in effect, and evacuation orders are still being enforced.