Strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake rocks Japan, tsunami alert withdrawn

Tokyo: Tokyo’s meteorological agency lifted a tsunami alert on Tuesday after a powerful earthquake hit northwestern Japan. At least 16 people suffered minor injuries in different cities in Japan.

Officials originally warned of 20 cm-100 cm waves along the northwest coast of Honshu, one of Japan’s four main islands where the capital city, Tokyo, is located. However, only small ripples of 10 centimetres were reported.

A strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan Tuesday night, sparking a tsunami advisory.

The earthquake, which struck at 10:22 p.m., registered 6.7 on the Japanese scale and was felt in the capital.

Citizens told to be vigilant for strong aftershocks

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters his government would be on the maximum alert to prepare for possible rescue operations in the region and warned citizens to be vigilant for strong aftershocks.

The earthquake struck at a late hour in mainly sparsely populated areas so it was not easy to evaluate the damage immediately.

Bad weather could trigger landslides

An official told an emergency news conference that residents in the region should stay vigilant as “a sizeable earthquake may occur again.” The official also warned that bad weather was forecast in the region, which could potentially trigger landslides.

Witnesses said they experienced strong shaking that knocked some books off shelves and moved some furniture. Officials immediately stopped bullet train services in the region as a precautionary measure but resumed operation from Wednesday morning.

Thousands of households were left without power temporarily but power supply recovered by Wednesday morning.

Video shows trembling buildings

A video circulated on social media appeared to show trembling buildings in the prefectures of Niigata and Yamagata. Several people sustained minor injuries in the two prefectures, but no serious injuries were reported, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Separately, a fire department representative said two elderly women were taken to hospital after falling but “they were conscious.”

‘All nuclear power plants have reported no abnormalities’

“All nuclear power plants have reported no abnormalities,” government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters in a late nationally televised news conference on Tuesday.

“Strong jolts may continue,” warned Suga.

There were multiple small aftershocks after the main quake. Some local roads were also closed.

Japan sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where many of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.