Japan earthquake - latest: Death toll rises to two people as tsunami threat wanes

·13 min read

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan has triggered two small tsunamis just days after the 11th anniversary of the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

At least one person was confirmed dead, and almost 100 injured in the city of Soma, Fukushima, according to city officials reported by Japanese news outlet NHK World.

Buildings in Tokyo shook violently and more than 2 million homes lost power in large parts of eastern Japan after the earthquake struck around 11:30 pm local time on Wednesday. A 5.6 magnitude aftershock of hit about an hour later shortly before 1 am Thursday.

Small tsunami waves of about 20 centimetres in Sendai and the Port of Ishinomaki and 39,000 people were warned to evacuate the Miyagi Prefecture, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority reported the water pumps at two reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s spent pool were halted.

There was also a fire alarm triggered at a turbine in the building of another reactor, but the nuclear regulator said there were no “abnormalities” with any of the facilities.

Three of the six reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Okuma melted down in 2011 after the tsunami flooded emergency power generators.

A bullet train carrying about 100 passengers and crew derailed between Fukushima and Miyagi, but no injuries were reported by East Japan Railway Co. Rail services were suspended as investigations continued.

More than 2.2 million households were left without power, including 700,000 in Tokyo. Power was later restored to most of them, according to the TEPCO Power Grid and Tohoku Electric Power Network Co.

Japan warned that another earthquake of “similar intensity” could hit the country within the next week.

Top Posts

  • Japan warns of another earthquake ‘within a week’

  • 20-centimetre Tsunami hits Miyagi’s Ishinomaki Port

  • Fukushima nuclear power plants being assessed for damage

  • 5.6 magnitude aftershock hits an hour later

  • BREAKING: Tsunami warning issued after earthquake hits Japan

Comparing Wednesday’s earthquake to the one that caused Fukushima meltdown

00:07 , Josh Marcus

How does Wednesday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan compare to the 2011 disaster that caused the Fukushima nuclear meltdown?

Nikkei Asia reporter Mitsuru Obe has this helpful comparison:

Fukushima earthquake: Two dead and millions without power in 7.3 magnitude quake off Japan coast

Wednesday 16 March 2022 23:47 , Josh Marcus

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan left millions without power, thousands evacuated from coastal towns and at least two people dead.

The earthquake epicentre was under 62 miles (100kms_ from the 9.1 magnitude earthquake that led to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which killed an estimated 22,000.

Just days after the 11th anniversary of the tragedy, a 7.3 earthquake struck about 11.30 am local time on Wednesday night, followed by a 5.6 magnitude aftershock about an hour later shortly before 1am on Thursday.

Justin Vallejo has the latest for The Independent.

Two dead, millions without power in 7.3 magnitude earthquake near Fukushima

UPDATE: Death toll rises to two in Japanese earthquake and tsunami

Wednesday 16 March 2022 23:27 , Josh Marcus

Two people were killed and another 94 were injured in the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Wednesday, according to the national Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

The quake also caused more than 2.2 million homes to temporarily lose power, though electricity has been restored in most places besides the hardest-hit zones in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, where roughly 37,000 homes remain without power.

VIDEO: 100m long crack appears in Miyagi expressway after quake

Wednesday 16 March 2022 23:07 , Josh Marcus

The earthquake that sent tsunami waves heading towards Japan on Wednesday has caused a 100m-long crack to appear in the Tohoku Expressway in Tome City, Miyagi prefecture, according to the Miyagi Prefectural Expressway Police Corps.

See video of the rupture below, via Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Quake that caused tsunamis rivaled 1995 Kobe earthquake that killed 6,000

Wednesday 16 March 2022 22:47 , Josh Marcus

Wednesday’s 7.3 earthquake off the coast of Japan rivaled another earthquake that hit the Kobe area in 1995, killing more than 6,000 people.

An overview taken on March 2, 1995 of the fire-ravaged area of the port city of Kobe as powerful earthquake measuring 7,02 on the Richter scale rocked Western Japan. (AFP via Getty Images)
An overview taken on March 2, 1995 of the fire-ravaged area of the port city of Kobe as powerful earthquake measuring 7,02 on the Richter scale rocked Western Japan. (AFP via Getty Images)

So far, only one person has been reported dead in yesterday’s earthquake, however, with scores more injured.

The Kobe quake, the second deadliest in Japan in the 20th century, was closer to the surface and nearer to land, while the epicenter of Wednesday’s earthquake took place about 60 km below sea level and 57 km from shore.

Scientists worry about earthquake threat from section of California fault line

Wednesday 16 March 2022 22:27 , Josh Marcus

As authorities work to respond to the magnitude 7.3 earthquake and the resulting tsunamis in Japan, researchers in California are studying whether a section of its famous San Andreas fault line is more dangerous than previously imagined.

Scientists previously believed that a central section of the fault produced less severe earthquakes than other sections of the fault. However, researchers have concluded that large magnitude earthquakes are possible in the area and have happened in the past

Catch up on Graig Graziosi’s report here.

San Andreas fault could cause greater earthquakes than first thought, researchers say

One dead, at least 92 injured as reports of casualties emerge

Wednesday 16 March 2022 21:22 , Justin Vallejo

At least one person died and another 92 were injured in the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake, according to NHK World.

The casualties, in the city of Soma, in Fukushima, were confirmed by officials in the city, the Japanese news outlet reported.

Tsunami warning lifted in Japan, no danger in the US

Wednesday 16 March 2022 21:16 , Justin Vallejo

Tsunami warnings were lifted for the east of Japan after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima.

The earthquake and its 5.6 magnitude aftershock were felt across most of the country’s east coast, with 39,000 people ordered to evacuate shoreline areas.

Small tsunami waves of between 20 to 30 centimetres were reported in Sendai and the Port of Ishinomaki.

The US tsunami warning centre, meanwhile, said was currently no danger for Alaska or its West Coast states of California, Washington or Oregon. Canada’s British Colombia was also said to be free of danger.

How big was the Fukushima earthquake? See how it compares to the top 10 most powerful on record

Wednesday 16 March 2022 20:31 , Justin Vallejo

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Fukushima was within 100 miles of the 2011 disaster, but considerably less powerful than the 9.3 magnitude quake that triggered tsunamis and led to the meltdown of the Daichi power plant.

These are the top 10 most powerful earthquakes on record, according to the US Geological Survey:

How big was Fukushima earthquake? See how it compares to the top 10 most powerful on record

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast Fukushima was within 100 miles of the 2011 disaster, but considerably less powerful than the 9.3 magnitude quake that triggered tsunamis and led to the meltdown of the Daichi power plant.

These are the top 10 most powerful earthquakes on record, according to the

  • 9.5 magnitude Valdiva Earthquake off the coast of Chile in 1960

  • 9.2 magnitude Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964

  • 9.1 magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in 2004

  • 9.1 magnitude Tohoku Earthquake off the east coast of Japan in 2011

  • 9.0 magnitude Kamchatka earthquake off the coast of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula in 1952

  • 8.8 magnitude Maule Earthquake off the coast of Chile n 2010

  • 8.8 magnitude Equador-Colombia Earthquake of 1906

  • 8.7 magnitude Rat Island Earthquake, near Alaska, in 1965

  • 8.6 magnitude earthquake in Tibet, near the Eastern Xizang-India border region, in 1959

  • 8.6 magnitude earthquake recorded off the west coast of Northern Sumatra in 2012

Water pumps at Fukushima nuclear reactor halted

Wednesday 16 March 2022 19:45 , Justin Vallejo

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority reported the water pumps at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s spent pool have been halted.

The agency said pumps went offline for spent pools at reactor number one and three.

Pumps for reactor #3 were restarted soon after the earthquake, while the agency said there was “enough time” to restart pumps for reactor #1. Fire alarms went off at the plant’s #5 turbine.

Three of the six reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Okuma melted down in 2011 after the tsunami flooded emergency power generators.

11 years later, fate of Fukushima reactor cleanup uncertain

Wednesday 16 March 2022 19:30 , Justin Vallejo

Eleven years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was ravaged by a meltdown following a massive earthquake and tsunami, the plant now looks like a sprawling construction site. Most of the radioactive debris blasted by the hydrogen explosions has been cleared and the torn buildings have been fixed.

During a recent visit to see firsthand the cleanup of one of the world’s worst nuclear meltdowns, helmeted men wore regular work clothes and surgical masks, instead of previously required hazmat coveralls and full-face masks, as they dug near a recently reinforced oceanside seawall.

Nearly 900 tons of melted nuclear fuel remain inside the three damaged reactors, and its removal is an unprecedented challenge involving 10 times the amount of damaged fuel removed in the Three Mile Island cleanup following its 1979 partial core melt.

Read more at the Associated Press:

11 years later, fate of Fukushima reactor cleanup uncertain

ICYMI: Powerful earthquake hits Japan off Fukushima coast as tsunami warning issued

Wednesday 16 March 2022 19:00 , Justin Vallejo

A powerful earthquake has shaken Japan and triggered tsunami warnings after it struck off the coast of Fukushima.

The tremor had a magnitude of 7.3 and hit in the ocean around the northeast of the country, meteorologists said.

It rocked large parts of eastern Japan - including Tokyo, where buildings violently shook and power was cut off - as it struck around 11.30pm local time (2pm GMT) on Wednesday.

People called it the “longest” and “scariest” earthquake they had ever experienced as they took to social media after it happened.

Powerful earthquake hits Japan off Fukushima coast as tsunami warning issued

Japan earth quake in pictures

Wednesday 16 March 2022 18:27 , Justin Vallejo

Dramatic images are beginning to emerge from Japan following the 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Fukushima. See the latest below:

 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)
 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (AP)
(AP)
 (USGS)
(USGS)

BREAKING: Japan warns of another earthquake ‘within a week’

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:54 , Justin Vallejo

Japan has warned that another earthquake of “similar intensity” could hit the country within the next week, according to Kyodo News.

Bullet train reportedly derails as rail lines suspended

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:48 , Justin Vallejo

A bullet train has reportedly “derailed” in Japan following the 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Fukushima.

Japan Rail East has suspended rail lines and is investigating reports of the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train derailment, according to Bloomberg’s Gearoid Reidy.

There were reportedly no injuries among the 96 passengers and crew.

Watch: Tokyo shakes as 7.3 and 5.6 magnitude earthquakes rock Japan

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:33 , Justin Vallejo

Two earthquakes about an hour apart left buildings shaking in Japan and an estimated two million people without power across the country.

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake about 11:30 pm local time on Wednesday night was followed by a milder 5.6 magnitude aftershock shortly before 1am Thursday.

Video emerging online shows the city skyline shaking, power going out and explosions or flashes in the distance.

Fukushima earthquake less powerful than in 2011

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:26 , Justin Vallejo

The 7.3 magnitude quake near Fukushima was about 63 times less powerful than the 9.1 magnitude quake in a similar area off the coast of Japan 11-years ago.

The 2011 Fukushima earthquake released about 500 times more energy and is the fourth-largest earthquake ever recorded.

The strongest quake on record was a 9.5 quake near Chile in 1960, followed by a 9.2 quake off southern Alaska in 1964, and another 9.1 recorded in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

Epicentre 89 kilometres from 2011 earthquake

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:16 , Justin Vallejo

The epicentre of Wednesday’s earthquake was reportedly just 89 kilometres from the 9.1 magnitude earthquake in 2011.

The earthquake 11-years ago caused a tsunami with 30-foot waves that damaged multiple nuclear reactors on Japan’s Fukushima coast.

An estimated 22,000 were killed in either the initial earthquake, the following tsunami or lingering health consequences.

Epicentre 89 kilometres from 2011 earthquake

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:16 , Justin Vallejo

The epicentre of Wednesday’s earthquake was reportedly just 89 kilometres from the 9.1 magnitude earthquake in 2011.

The earthquake 11-years ago caused a tsunami with 30-foot waves that damaged multiple nuclear reactors on Japan’s Fukushima coast.

An estimated 22,000 were killed in either the initial earthquake, the following tsunami or lingering health consequences.

Fukushima nuclear power plants being assessed for damage

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:12 , Justin Vallejo

One nuclear power plant in Fukushima was unaffected and another was being assessed, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said in a press conference.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office wrote on Twitter that government agencies were making “every effort to respond” to the earthquake.

20-centimetre Tsunami hits Miyagi’s Ishinomaki Port

Wednesday 16 March 2022 17:07 , Justin Vallejo

Almost 39,000 people were told to evacuate Miyagi as a small tsunami hit the Port of Ishinomaki about an hour after the 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima.

Warnings remained in both Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures of more possible tsunamis of up to one metre above normal tidal levels.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the preliminary depth of the epicentre was 60 kilometres.

Tsunami warning issued after earthquake hits Japan

Wednesday 16 March 2022 16:37 , Justin Vallejo

A powerful earthquake has shaken Japan and triggered tsunami warnings after it struck off the coast of Fukushima.

The tremor had a magnitude of 7.3 and hit in the ocean around the northeast of the country, meteorologists said.

It rocked large parts of eastern Japan - including Tokyo, where buildings violently shook and power was cut off - as it struck around 11.30pm local time (2pm GMT) on Wednesday.

Zoe Tidman has the breaking news.

Powerful earthquake hits Japan off Fukushima coast as tsunami warning issued