TOKYO (Kyudo) – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 shook a wide area on the Sea of Japan coast in central Japan on Friday, killing one person and injuring more than 20 others, Japanese authorities said. No tsunami warning was issued.
The earthquake occurred at 2:42 pm, registering 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, about 110 kilometers northeast of the popular tourist area of Kanazawa.
Some buildings collapsed in Suzu at the tip of the Noto Peninsula while traffic and events were disrupted during the country’s Golden Week holiday. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake hit at a depth of 12 kilometres.
It was the largest among the series of earthquakes to hit the Noto region since December 2020, the agency said. The agency said a change of about 10 centimeters in sea level was detected in Ishikawa Prefecture.
No abnormalities were detected at the Shika nuclear power plant, about 60 km from Suzu, or the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant in nearby Niigata Prefecture, according to the operators.
It is believed that the first earthquake caused this rockslide. © Kyodo
A 65-year-old man fell from a ladder in Suzhou and was later confirmed dead, according to local authorities. The city said more than 20 people were injured.
Nearly 40 aftershocks hit the area by 11 p.m., including a 5.8-magnitude quake around 10 p.m.
A man in his 30s said earlier in the day that his two-storey home in Suzhou was partially destroyed, though no one inside was injured. He said he was looking for valuables because he could no longer live in the house.
At a Shinto shrine in the city, the torii gate fell after the tremor.
“I was scared,” said Yoshimichi Hata, the 71-year-old president of Suzu Hachimangu.
Some parts of the shrine were damaged in an earthquake last year.
“We just finished fixing it,” he said.
Three trains of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line made emergency stops due to a temporary power outage between Nagano and Kanazawa, while a total of four tracks were suspended after the quake, according to JR West and JR East.
Long lines were seen at JR Kanazawa Station due to cancellations of train services, and some tourist spots were affected amid the Golden Week holidays which caused a travel frenzy on the back of easing coronavirus restrictions.
“I felt the earthquake even when I was on a bus. I didn’t expect the last day of my retirement trip to become like this,” said Shinichi Kajia, 58, a resident of Yokohama, near Tokyo, who was waiting for an express train with his wife.
At Omicho Market, a popular tourist attraction in Kanazawa, earthquake warnings went off simultaneously on visitors’ smartphones, with a woman working at a shop reporting that “the shaking lasted several minutes.”
A dance event in the garden of Kanazawa Castle has been suspended for 30 minutes as a precaution. One of the organizers said that the participants and visitors remained calm.
Two elevators at the 300-meter-tall Abeno Harukas skyscraper in Osaka stopped automatically after detecting seismic activity, stranding visitors on observation decks on floors 58 to 60 for about an hour.
All visitors were eventually able to disembark safely, with no injuries reported, according to staff.
The Meteorological Agency initially reported that the quake had a magnitude of 6.3 and the focus was at a depth of 10 kilometres.
The agency warned of the possibility of earthquakes around the upper level 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale for about a week in the region.
The agency defines uppers 6 and 7 as “it is impossible to remain standing or move without crawling” and “people may be thrown into the air.”
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, while returning to Japan from Singapore on a government plane, ordered his government to work with affected prefectures to rescue disaster victims.
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