ISHIKAWA, Japan – A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck western Japan on New Year’s Day, resulting in the death of at least six individuals and injuring dozens of others. Rescue teams worked tirelessly to locate survivors amidst the devastating aftermath of the quake.
The earthquake, which occurred near Anamizu in Ishikawa prefecture, along the Noto Peninsula, caused extensive damage to roads and buildings, leaving approximately 45,000 households without power. Although tsunami warnings were issued as far as eastern Russia, they were later downgraded to advisories and eventually canceled on Tuesday morning.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned of more than 140 aftershocks, with the possibility of continued strong tremors over the coming days. As a precaution, over 97,000 people were evacuated from their homes. The initially anticipated 10-foot tsunami waves along the Sea of Japan coast, as well as all other tsunami warnings, were eventually downgraded and canceled by the Meteorological Agency.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized the urgency of search and rescue efforts, as the death toll in Ishikawa reached six, with numerous injuries reported in other prefectures. Although the earthquake’s impact extended to central Tokyo and Hokkaido Prefecture, there was no risk of radioactivity leaking from nuclear power plants in the affected areas. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako canceled their New Year’s celebration, and President Joe Biden offered the support of the United States to the people of Japan. This devastating earthquake was the first time Japan had issued a major tsunami warning since 2011.