Powerful earthquake hits Japan, prompting tsunami warnings

A string of earthquakes shook Japan on Monday, prompting officials to declare tsunami warnings and order evacuations along the country’s western coast.

There were more than a dozen earthquakes off the coast of Ishikawa and nearby prefectures shortly after 4 p.m. local time, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. This included one earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 — which is considered a major earthquake that can cause serious damage.

Japan initially issued major tsunami warnings for Ishikawa with surfs up to five meters high, but has since downgraded to a simple tsunami warning. The country also issued tsunami warnings and advisories along its western coast where waves could reach at least three meters high, according to the meteorological agency. The agency confirmed initial waves along some parts of the coast have already arrived.

“A large tsunami has been observed, and there is a risk of tremendous damage. If you are on the coast or along the river, please evacuate to safe places such as high stand evacuation buildings immediately,” the agency said in a press release.

The agency also warned that there was a risk of houses collapsing and landslides in areas where the earthquake was strong. It urged residents to pay close attention to more shocks and potential rainfall in its press release.

The Associated Press reported that at least six homes were damaged by the earthquakes with people trapped inside them. Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi said a fire also broke out in Wajima city, Ishikawa Prefecture, and more than 30,000 households are without electricity, the AP reported.

Hayashi said no deaths or injuries have been reported yet, according to the AP.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that officials are working to assess the damage caused by the earthquakes.

“Putting human lives as priority, we are making every effort to assess damages – putting forth all efforts in disaster response,” he wrote. “For those in affected areas, please pay close attention to the latest information and place personal safety as your priority.”

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