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January 1, 2024

7.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Japan, triggers tsunami fears

7.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Japan, triggers tsunami fears

A 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Japan has caused homes to collapse. It also ripped up roads and triggered tsunami warnings for coastal areas.

Tens of thousands of people living close to the Sea of Japan have been told to head for higher ground.

Dozens of smaller earthquakes have struck central Japan since about 4 p.m. local time, with more expected to follow.

Tsunami waves, some more than a metre high, have reached the coast in Ishikawa prefecture. But but they are smaller than the 5m-high (16ft) waves that authorities had warned of.

A major tsunami alert issued for the Noto area has now been downgraded. It was the first in Japan since the 2011 earthquake.

Meanwhile, authorities have also issued tsunami warnings for neighbouring Niigata and Toyama prefectures. They warn that waves there could reach 3m.

However, no irregularities have been reported from nuclear power plants along the Sea of Japan, the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has said.

The Wajima City Fire Department in Ishikawa says it has received at least 30 reports of buildings collapsing. This was reported by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK is reporting.

While the “major tsunami warning” for the Ishikawa Prefecture has been downgraded to a “tsunami warning”, officials are still urging caution, with people in the area being asked to evacuate.

A snowboarder on holiday in Japan’s Hakuba Alps was in his hotel room when the earthquake struck.

“The whole room was shaking, the TV was shaking, I had to keep everything on the table,” Baldwin Chia told the Reuters news agency.

“My friends were still outside,” Chia says, “so my first instinct was to text them, to see if they’re okay”.

A video of cars shaking violently in a car park was also shared. BBC

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