Late on Wednesday, according to the US Geological Survey, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Japan. The epicenter was identified in a channel between Kyushu and Shikoku islands, roughly 11 miles west of Uwajima, at a depth of around 25 kilometers. While some water pipes burst, local media stated that no significant damage has been reported.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) urged caution in strongly affected areas, advising against approaching any hazardous locations. They assured via social media platform X that there was no risk of a tsunami resulting from this earthquake. This significant quake occurred four months subsequent to Japan’s encounter with a devastating 7.6 magnitude event on New Year’s Day, which was followed by up to 1,200 aftershocks and associated with 245 fatalities.

A resident visits the site of a fire caused after an earthquake to check his house in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024

On Tuesday, January 9, 2024, a resident inspects his home at the site of a fire ignited by an earthquake in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority announced that the Ikata nuclear power plant in the region remained operational following the April 17 earthquake.

“There have been no abnormalities detected at the Ikata power plant… and operations are ongoing,” the authority stated.

Government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi confirmed the absence of tsunami alerts or irregularities at any power facilities. He also stated that authorities were investigating potential additional damages.

“We are committed to providing every possible response,” Hayashi assured.

He advised the public to remain vigilant for aftershocks.

“I felt the tremors and sensed an impending quake just before bedtime. Then came a powerful jolt unlike any I’ve ever experienced, lasting for about 10 or 20 seconds,” recounted a fisherman from the Ehime region to NHK broadcaster.

“I was somewhat anxious,” he admitted, noting minor household items falling, though no significant damage occurred.

Situated atop four major tectonic plates along the western rim of the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire,’ Japan ranks among the globe’s most seismically active regions.

With an approximate population of 125 million, the archipelago encounters roughly 1,500 tremors annually. The majority are mild, and even stronger earthquakes typically result in minimal harm.

Devastation brought on by the 7.6 magnitude New Year's Day earthquake, in Wajima, Ishikawa

The aftermath of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on New Year’s Day, causing devastation in Wajima, Ishikawa.

Japan’s most significant recorded earthquake occurred in March 2011, registering a massive 9.0 magnitude beneath the ocean off its northeast coast. This seismic event triggered a tsunami that resulted in approximately 18,500 casualties, either dead or missing.

The 2011 disaster also led to the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant, marking Japan’s worst post-war catastrophe and the most severe nuclear incident since Chernobyl.

Despite the implementation of stricter construction regulations, many buildings, especially those outside major urban centers, remain aged and susceptible to damage.

This vulnerability was starkly demonstrated by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on January 1 of this year, which struck the Noto Peninsula and claimed over 230 lives, primarily due to collapses of older structures.

On April 3, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan, resulting in 16 fatalities and over 1,100 injuries. The implementation of rigorous building codes and widespread disaster preparedness measures were credited with preventing a more extensive calamity.


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