A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s capital city Tokyo and nearby areas on Thursday evening, injuring more than 20 people. Following the earthquake, Japan Meteorological Agency claimed there was no tsunami risk.
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Earthquake hits Tokyo, Epicentre in Chiba prefecture
As the earthquake hit, local news agencies reported buildings swaying, stranding commuters, knocking items off store shelves. The shocks were severe enough to trigger emergency warnings on local people’s phones, giving them time to seek shelter. The epicentre of the quake, according to preliminary information from the JMA, was in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. It struck at 10:41pm (13:41 GMT) at a depth of 80 kilometres. There was no tsunami warning issued.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the quake’s magnitude to be 5.9, at a depth of 61 kilometres. It was one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Tokyo since the devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands in 2011. Following the earthquake, authorities paused several bullet and local train services as a precaution. During the suspension of service, people in Tokyo were seen waiting at the Shinagawa station early on Friday. As reported by local news, people also lined up at taxi stands looking for alternative transit.
Earthquake – Injuries and Damage reports
As per Kyodo news agency, police and fire officials reported that over 20 people were injured, including a woman who banged her head when a train came to a sudden halt. Authorities also checked regional nuclear reactors for possible disturbances caused by the tremors. No such irregularities were discovered, as verified by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. According to local reports, several hundred Tokyo homes were without power after the earthquake. Tokyo Fire Department personnel also had to scramble to repair burst water pipes throughout the city.
One of the most powerful earthquakes in Tokyo since 2011
The quake was quite severe in comparison to recent quakes in the city. Tokyo, like much of Japan, is prone to earthquakes. Fumio Kishida, the newly elected Prime Minister who took office just three days prior, asked locals to “please take action to preserve lives while reviewing the latest information” in a tweet.
According to reports, Kishida’s government has established a crisis management centre to analyze the damage and provide assistance as needed. Japan is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a swathe of active seismicity that spans from Southeast Asia to the Pacific Ocean.
Recent Earthquakes in the “Ring of Fire”
A 5.6-magnitude earthquake also struck northeastern Myanmar early Friday, at the depth of 114 kilometres. There were no reports of injuries or property damage right away. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan’s northwestern coast last week. However, there were no reports of damage there.
The country is prone to earthquakes, and there are strict building codes in place to ensure that structures can resist significant tremors.