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7.5 earthquake strikes central Japan, triggering tsunami warnings

Tokyo, 1 January, 2024 (GNP): On Monday, a formidable 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked central Japan, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), prompting immediate tsunami warnings and urgent calls for residents in the affected area to seek higher ground.

The earthquake, striking the Noto region in Ishikawa prefecture around 4:10 pm local time, compelled national broadcaster NHK to issue a critical evacuation notice urging all residents to move to elevated areas without delay.

Hazardous tsunami waves were anticipated within 300 kilometers (190 miles) of the earthquake’s epicenter along the Japanese coast, as cautioned by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Subsequently, a tsunami measuring 1.2 meters was confirmed in Wajima city, Ishikawa prefecture, while a much larger tsunami, measuring approximately 5 meters, was expected in the Noto region.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported a rapid succession of seismic activities in the Noto region, with quakes escalating in magnitude.

The sequence began with a 5.7 magnitude tremor at 4:06 pm, followed by a 7.6 magnitude quake at 4:10 pm, and subsequent tremors measuring 6.1, 4.5, 4.6, and 4.8 magnitudes, respectively.

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Another earthquake, registering 6.2 in magnitude, was recorded shortly after by the US Geological Survey.

As the largest tremor unfolded, broadcasters interrupted regular programming to issue urgent directives for affected residents to immediately seek higher ground.

“Your lives are important above everything else. Run to the highest ground possible,” urged a presenter on NHK.

Furthermore, alerts were issued for Russia’s Sakhalin island near Japan and the Pacific city of Vladivostok due to the potential tsunami risk. Emergency services in Sakhalin and Vladivostok authorities urged precautionary measures, including fishermen returning to shore urgently.

Japan, known for stringent construction regulations and regular emergency drills, remains vigilant in earthquake preparedness.

However, the country remains acutely aware of the catastrophic impact of the devastating 2011 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that claimed thousands of lives and triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster.