Massive earthquake hits western Japan, triggering tsunami warnings

By Emiko Jozuka, Hanako Montgomery and Alex Stambaugh CNN |

CNN — A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck western Japan on Monday afternoon, triggering tsunami alerts as far away as eastern Russia and prompting a warning for residents to evacuate affected coastal areas of Japan as soon as possible.

The earthquake struck at 4:10 p.m. local time at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), around 42 kilometers (26 miles) northeast of Anamizu in Ishikawa prefecture, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Japan Meteorological Agency immediately issued a tsunami warning along coastal regions of western Japan, and the first waves were reported hitting the coast just over 10 minutes later.

Some of the first reports came from the city of Wajima in Ishikawa prefecture, which saw tsunami waves of around 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) around 4:21 p.m., according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK. No immediate damage was reported.

Suzu city officials in Ishikawa told CNN that buildings have been damaged and there were reports of injuries. Police in the city said some people were trapped in damaged houses, according to NHK. No deaths have been reported so far.

A major tsunami warning was in place in the city of Noto in Ishikawa, with waves of around 5 meters expected, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Buildings and others are collapse due to the earthquake in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture on Jan. 1, 2024.

It was the first major tsunami warning to be issued since 2011, according to a spokesman from Ishikawa prefecture’s disaster management agency.

Under Japan’s tsunami warning system, waves expected less than 1 meter fall under “tsunami advisory,” while those expected above 3 meters fall under “tsunami warning” and waves expected above 5 meters fall under “major tsunami warning.”

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