In western Japan on Monday, a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck the Noto region in Ishikawa Prefecture, prompting immediate tsunami warnings and evacuation orders. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported a rapid chain of quakes, starting with a 5.7-magnitude tremor at 4:06 pm local time, escalating to a 7.6-magnitude quake at 4:10 pm, followed by several aftershocks.
Tsunami warnings were issued for Ishikawa, Niigata, Toyama, Yamagata, Fukui, and Hyogo prefectures along the Japan Sea coast. Residents were urgently advised by Japanese public broadcaster NHK to evacuate coastal areas, with the potential for tsunami waves reaching as high as 5 meters (16.5 feet). The JMA further extended warnings for smaller tsunami waves along the western coast of Honshu.
Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi assured the public that nuclear plants in the affected region had not reported any irregularities. Nevertheless, he emphasized the critical need for coastal residents to move to higher ground promptly. Evacuation orders were swiftly implemented, and the Japanese government established a special emergency center to broadcast information rapidly.
International impact was also noted, with warnings of smaller tsunami waves reaching parts of North Korea and Russia. Russian officials issued a tsunami alert for Sakhalin Island, cautioning about potential impacts along the west coast. South Korea’s weather agency urged residents in specific eastern coastal towns to monitor sea level changes.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed the nation, underlining the urgency for immediate evacuation in affected areas. NHK continued to broadcast warnings more than an hour after the initial alert, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of tsunami waves.