2024 Sea of Japan earthquake : TOKYO, January 1 – A seismic catastrophe struck central Japan on Monday, claiming lives, demolishing structures, plunging tens of thousands of households into darkness, and compelling residents in coastal regions to flee to higher elevations.
Magnitude 7.6 Quake Unleashes Havoc
The earthquake, boasting a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, unleashed waves of approximately 1 meter along Japan’s western coastline and extending into neighboring South Korea. Authorities issued warnings of potential larger waves.
Tsunami Alerts and International Concerns
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) promptly issued tsunami warnings for Ishikawa, Niigata, and Toyama prefectures. Initial major tsunami warnings for Ishikawa were later downgraded. International concern rose as Russia and North Korea also issued tsunami alerts for specific areas.
Devastation and Rescue Efforts
Destruction rippled through numerous homes, fires erupted, and military personnel were mobilized for rescue operations, as reported by government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi. The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined. Tragically, an elderly man lost his life in Shika Town due to a building collapse.
Leadership Response and Ongoing Threats
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directed search and rescue teams to prioritize saving lives, acknowledging the challenges posed by blocked roads in accessing affected areas. JMA official Toshihiro Shimoyama warned of potential additional quakes in the coming days.
Evacuation Urgency and Local Impact
In a press statement, Prime Minister Kishida urged residents to brace for more disasters and stressed the importance of immediate evacuation in tsunami-prone areas. Disturbing visuals captured by local media showcased collapsed buildings in Suzu and a significant road crack in Wajima, where around 30 structures crumbled. The quake’s impact reached Tokyo, 500 km away from Wajima.
Infrastructure Disruptions and Air Travel Chaos
Over 36,000 households lost power in Ishikawa and Toyama, with plummeting temperatures intensifying the urgency. Telecommunications reported outages, and transportation infrastructure suffered severe blows. Train lines and high-speed rail services were halted, expressways closed, and an airport in Ishikawa shut due to a damaged runway. Airlines ANA and Japan Airlines adjusted services, rerouting and canceling flights in affected regions.
Nuclear Industry Concerns
Coinciding with a crucial time for Japan’s nuclear industry, the earthquake stirred worries. However, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority reported no irregularities at nuclear power plants along the Sea of Japan. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant had recently had its operational ban lifted.
New Year’s Chaos in Tourist Hotspots : 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake
Striking on New Year’s Day, the earthquake disrupted traditional temple visits. Kanazawa, a popular tourist destination, witnessed damage to historical sites, adding to the chaos.
Ongoing Vigilance and Rescue Operations
Residents and tourists were urged to remain vigilant due to aftershock threats and potential secondary disasters. Rescue operations are underway, and communities remain on edge as the assessment of the full extent of the damage continues.
2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake 2024 Sea of Japan earthquake