Japan’s Strong Earthquake Kills at Least 6 and Injures Dozens as Aftershocks Continue to Rattle the Country

TOKYO, JAPAN – A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck western Japan on New Year’s Day, resulting in at least six deaths and dozens of injuries as rescuers raced to find survivors amidst the devastation.

The earthquake, which was centered about 26 miles northeast of Anamizu in Ishikawa prefecture, damaged roads and buildings and cut off power to 45,000 homes. Tsunami warnings were issued but later downgraded to advisories and eventually canceled Tuesday morning. Japan’s Meteorological Agency recorded more than 140 aftershocks since the initial quake and warned of the possibility of strong tremors persisting for several days.

More than 97,000 people were evacuated from their homes as a precaution. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that rescuing those impacted by the quake was a “battle against time.” At least six people were reported dead in Ishikawa, with more than 30 injuries across four other prefectures. The quake also shook buildings in central Tokyo and resulted in residents trapped in collapsed houses on the Noto Peninsula.

This earthquake marked the first time Japan has issued a major tsunami warning since 2011, when a devastating 9.0-magnitude quake struck Tohoku. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako canceled their New Year’s celebration, and Kishida postponed his scheduled visit to Isle Shrine. U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed the United States’ readiness to assist Japan in the wake of the disaster.

Strong aftershocks were reported, along with disruptions to transportation and air travel services in the affected region. The country’s nuclear authority also assured that there was no risk of radioactivity leaking from nuclear power plants in the area.

Japan’s location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates converge, makes it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes. The nation has developed one of the world’s most sophisticated tsunami warning systems as a result. The aftermath of this earthquake underscores the ongoing threat of seismic activity in the region, with authorities continuing to assess the damage and provide support to those affected.