Strong quake hits northern Japan, cuts power and transport

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A magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck northern Japan near Fukushima prefecture late on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami advisory and disrupting power in parts of Tokyo.

The quake, which also shook buildings and disrupted power in parts of Tokyo, struck around 11:36 pm local time, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Kyodo News said, “many” were injured in Fukushima, citing the local fire department, although the full scale of damages and injuries was still unclear. 

The affected area was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that killed almost 20,000 people and triggered a nuclear crisis in Fukushima. No irregularities have been found at its Dai-ni nuclear power plant in Fukushima, while the Dai-ichi plant is still being checked, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered ministries to gather information on the quake. 

The intensity of the shaking was estimated at an upper 6 on Japan’s Shindo scale of 7 in parts of Miyagi prefecture, public broadcaster NHK said. A 1-meter tsunami warning was issued for northern Japan, it said. 

Residents in some towns in Miyagi prefecture were told to evacuate, NHK said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said more than 2 million buildings, including around 700,000 in Tokyo, lost power. It’s also checking for any irregularities at its facilities, including its Dai-ichi and Dai-ni nuclear power plants in Fukushima, it said.

Eneos Holdings Inc. said operations at its oil-fired Negishi plant were halted, while East Japan Railway Co. said some public transportation services were disrupted. 

The 2011 disaster led to the shutdown of all of Japan’s nuclear plants, forcing the country to rely on other sources of energy such as coal and natural gas.

(Source: Bloomberg)