Naoko Fujimura and Tetsuya Komatsu, Bloomberg
Tokyo: An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 shook central Japan, including Ishikawa Prefecture at 9:42 am local time, the US Geological Service said.
A 52-year-old woman was killed, and injury and damage reports were being assessed by local police and firefighting agencies, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said today at a news conference. The Japanese Meteorological Agency said aftershocks are possible by tomorrow, Takeshi Hachimine, an agency official, said at the same briefing in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered government agencies to confirm injuries and damage after the quake caused landslides, broke highway pavement and toppled buildings, Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the chief government spokesman, said.
Japan, one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, is located in a zone where the Eurasian, Pacific, Philippine and North American tectonic plates meet and occasionally shift, causing quakes. Quakes of magnitude 5 and more can cause considerable damage.
The quake was felt 360 kilometers (225 miles) away in Tokyo. It was centered about 20 miles beneath the seabed offshore of Ishikawa Prefecture, a peninsula which faces the sea, the agency said on its Web site. The tremor registered in the upper six range on Japan’s intensity scale.
The agency lifted its tsunami advisory for coastal areas of Ishikawa at 11:30 am Tsunami about 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) high came ashore around at 10:12 am, the agency said.
There were six aftershocks as big as magnitude 4.2 as of 11:19 am, the meteorological agency said in a release today.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co., which operate nuclear power plants in areas near the centre of the quake, said facilities were operating normally. All Nippon Airways Co. suspended flights between Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Noto airport in Ishikawa, according to Hidemi Saito, operation director for the carrier at the Haneda airport.
West Japan Railway Co. suspended service in the area for inspection, the company said on its web site. East Japan Railway Co.’s high-speed Joetsu Shinkansen between Tokyo and Niigata resumed operations at 12:25 p.m. after they were suspended for inspection, said Shinichi Harada, company spokesman.
NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest mobile phone operator, was investigating problems communicating with some subscribers in the region around Ishikawa, spokesman Kiyotaka Naiki said.
— With reporting by Yoshinori Eki and Takashi Hirokawa in Tokyo