Japan: A magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck northern Japan near Fukushima prefecture late on Wednesday, killing four and injuring dozens of people, as well as disrupting power and some factories.
Four people have died from suspected connections to the quake, while 107 people have been injured, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference Thursday. About 5,700 buildings were still without power as of 12:05 p.m. in Japan’s northeastern region, while some factories were forced to suspend production.
The quake, which also shook buildings in parts of Tokyo, hit at a depth of 60 kilometers and struck at 11:36 p.m. local time Wednesday, according to the the Japan Meteorological Agency. An initial magnitude reading of 7.3 was later raised to 7.4.
The affected area was devastated by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in 2011 which left nearly 20,000 dead or missing, and triggered a nuclear crisis. The Fukushima disaster led to the shutdown of all of Japan’s nuclear plants, forcing the country to rely on other sources of energy such as coal and natural gas. The latest quake also triggered a tsunami warning, which was later lifted.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. halted operations at factories in the area. Memory-chip maker Kioxia Holdings Corp. said some systems have been halted at one of its plants and is looking into possible impact on its production.
A Tohoku bullet train has derailed on a stretch of track linking Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, although there were no injuries, East Japan Railway Co. said. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said around 2 million buildings in its service area lost electricity, although power was restored by the morning.
Nuclear regulators said a fire alarm went off at Fukushima’s Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, although it was later determined there was no fire. Water pumps used to cool spent fuel pools at the Dai-Ni plant were also halted, before coming back online. Refinery company Eneos Holdings Inc. said operations at its oil-fired Negishi plant were halted.
The intensity of the shaking was estimated at an upper 6 on Japan’s shindo scale of 7 in parts of Miyagi prefecture, according to JMA. A tsunami of 20 centimeters (8 inches) was recorded in the prefecture and residents of some towns were told to evacuate Thursday night, the broadcaster NHK reported. –Bloomberg