3 killed, 225 injured after magnitude-7.4 quake strikes northeastern Japan
Three people were killed and 225 others injured after a strong earthquake hit northeastern Japan late Wednesday night, police and fire authorities said Thursday.
As of 7:30 pm Thursday local time, 225 people were reported injured across 12 prefectures including Miyagi and Fukushima, where the quake registered magnitude 7.4, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
The quake was originally detected as magnitude 7.3, and then revised up to 7.4 by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
Strong shaking was felt in the Asian country's northeastern and eastern areas, especially in Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures where the quake logged six upper on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, which peaks at seven.
Six upper jolts are strong enough to toss people through the air, according to the JMA.
The temblor occurred at around 11:36 pm Wednesday local time with the epicenter, with a depth of 60 km, being at some 37.7 degrees north latitude and some 141.7 degrees east longitude.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday that authorities are looking into the deaths apparently caused by the quake, while the defense ministry dispatched the Self-Defense Forces for disaster relief work in Fukushima Prefecture to provide water service in areas where the supply has been disrupted.
"We will take all possible measures to respond (to the disaster)," Kishida told a parliamentary session.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said there have been no problems with safety at nuclear power plants in the quake-hit areas.
The country's nuclear regulator said there were no abnormalities with reactors and facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, despite temporary shutdown of the cooling system for the spent fuel pools at No. 2 and No. 5 reactors.
Cooling systems for spent fuel pools at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant and the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi were affected before they were restored.
A fire alarm went off in the turbine building of No. 5 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but no abnormalities were found. The seaside plant suffered multiple meltdowns in March 2011 during the devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Multiple tsunami warnings of up to one meter waves were issued to coastal areas in the Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures, with residents urged to stay away from the coast. The warnings were completely lifted on early Thursday morning.
Tsunami waves of about 20 centimeters high were observed to have reached harbor cities of Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures.
Part of the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train service was suspended Thursday morning after the earthquake derailed a train between Fukushima Station and Shiroishizao Station, but all 78 passengers and crew members aboard were not injured, according to East Japan Railway Company.
East Nippon Expressway Company temporarily closed several sections of expressways, including the Tohoku Expressway in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and Joban Expressway in Soma, Fukushima.
The capital city of Tokyo also detected strong tremors, and power outages were reported in parts of Tokyo and nearby areas after the quake.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company and Tohoku Electric Power Network Company said about 2.2 million homes in total lost power, among which about 700,000 households were in Tokyo.