January 2, 2024
TOKYO – An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.6 struck the Noto region of Ishikawa Prefecture at around 4:10 p.m. Monday, registering 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale — the highest level.
A more than 1.2-meter tsunami was observed at 4:21 p.m. in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
The strongest earthquake was preceded and followed by others in Ishikawa Prefecture starting at 4:06pm, ranging from 3 to lower 5 on the seismic intensity scale also occurred repeatedly.
Following the earthquakes, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning for Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, and tsunami warnings for Yamagata, Niigata, Toyama, Fukui, Ishikawa and Hyogo prefectures. A 0.8 meter tsunami in Toyama Prefecture and a 0.4 meter in Niigata Prefecture were observed.
Buildings collapsed and cobblestones and tiles on the streets cracked due to the earthquakes in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture. Some people were seen evacuating to higher ground by car or on foot.
According to East Japan Railway Company (JR East), operations were suspended on the Tohoku, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines. The Tohoku Shinkansen later resumed operations at around 4:40pm.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, speaking to the media, said “I would like to ask people in areas where tsunami warnings and advisories have been issued to evacuate as soon as possible.”
Approximately 36,000 homes in Ishikawa Prefecture were without power as of 5 p.m. Monday due to the major earthquakes that occurred in the prefecture earlier in the day.