Four confirmed dead in Japan's powerful earthquake

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck the Ishikawa prefecture on the Sea of Japan side of the main island of Honshu

By Agencies

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Cracks are seen on the ground in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, following an earthquake. Photo: AP
Cracks are seen on the ground in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, following an earthquake. Photo: AP

Published: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 11:11 PM

Four people have been confirmed dead in the powerful earthquake that rocked Japan, the Kyodo news agency reported early Tuesday, citing authorities in Ishikawa prefecture.

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck the prefecture on the Sea of Japan side of the main island of Honshu on Monday, triggering tsunami waves over a metre high, damaging homes, and setting off a major fire.

A powerful earthquake struck central Japan, destroying buildings, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and prompting residents in some coastal areas to flee to higher ground.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) initially issued a major tsunami warning - its first since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan killing nearly 20,000 people - for Ishikawa prefecture. It later downgraded that and eventually cut it to an advisory.

It was the strongest quake in the region in more than four decades, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Houses were destroyed, fires broke out and army personnel were dispatched to help with rescue operations, government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters.

Local media footage from the prefecture showed a building collapsing in a plume of dust in the city of Suzu and a huge crack in a road in Wajima where panicked-looking parents clutched their children.

One witness on social media platform X posted footage of the Keta Grand Shrine near the coast in Hakui rocking in the quake as a crowd of visitors watched. "It's swaying," she exclaims. "This is scary!"

Inputs from wires

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