| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Quake hits Japan off Fukushima coast, leaving one dead and reviving painful memories

A powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Japan’s northeast coast off Fukushima on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring 69 others, and bringing back memories of a quake and tsunami that devastated the same region just over a decade ago.

According to the government, there were some reports of fires, and a number of people were injured, but none of them appeared to be serious at the time. NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, reported that one person had died.

The quake was felt in Tokyo, some 275 kilometers (170 miles) away, where building shaking was long and severe. Hundreds of thousands of homes in the capital were left in the dark for an hour or more, but power was fully restored by Thursday morning.

The quake struck 60 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima prefecture just before midnight, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It brought back memories of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck in March 2011, just a week after the disaster’s 11th anniversary.

There were no abnormalities at nuclear power plants, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters. The 2011 disaster triggered a meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima that Japan is still coming to grips with.

Authorities earlier said a fire alarm had been triggered at a turbine building at the crippled plant.

Separately, a Shinkansen bullet train derailed with some 100 people on board, although there were no reports of injuries.

Utility Tokyo Electric Power Company said that initially around 2 million households lost power on Wednesday, including 700,000 in the capital.

In northeast Japan nearly 100,000 households were still without power early on Thursday, according to Tohoku Electric, the local utility.

  • Reuters