A strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked Japan, sparking a tsunami advisory that was later lifted with no reports yesterday of major damage and only a handful of light injuries.
The Japan Meteorological Agency had warned on Tuesday that a wave of 1m could hit the coast of the Sea of Japan, north of Tokyo, but only small ripples of 10cm were recorded.
The agency canceled the tsunami advisory about two-and-a-half hours after the quake.
The earthquake registered six on the Japanese scale, which goes up to a maximum of seven and was felt in the capital, which is more than 300km away.
The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 6.4.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters his government would be “on the maximum alert” to prepare for possible rescue operations in the region and warned citizens to be vigilant for strong aftershocks.
At least 21 people were injured after the earthquake, mostly in Yamagata Prefecture, the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
In Niigata Prefecture, a man in his 30s fell down and broke a bone, a woman in her 60s fell from her wheelchair and sustained light injuries, and two others were also lightly injured, the prefecture’s disaster management department said in a statement.
In Yamagata, at least 12 people were injured “but we are still gathering information on details,” said Yusuke Niizeki, a disaster management official for the prefecture.
Witnesses cited by Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) said they experienced strong shaking that knocked some books off shelves and moved some furniture.
The broadcaster showed images of some cups and glasses smashed on the floor of a restaurant.
Officials immediately stopped bullet train services in the region as a precautionary measure, but resumed operation from yesterday morning, NHK said.
Thousands of households were left without power temporarily, but power supply recovered by yesterday morning, NHK added.
A meteorological agency official told an emergency news conference that residents in the region should stay vigilant as “a sizeable earthquake may occur again.”
The official also warned that bad weather was forecast in the region, which could potentially trigger landslides.
NHK aired footage showing an elementary school ceiling collapsing onto the ground, and small-scale landslides in some towns and near railways.
“All nuclear power plants have reported no abnormalities,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a news conference late on Tuesday.
“Strong jolts may continue,” said Suga, adding that authorities were checking for signs of damage or injuries.
There were multiple small aftershocks after the main quake.
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