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Magnitude-7.3 Earthquake Hits Fukushima Japan

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On Wednesday night, a magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck near Fukushima prefecture in northern Japan, killing four people and injuring dozens more.

The earthquake also caused a bullet train to derail and disrupt power.

At a press conference, Newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday morning revealed four people had died and 97 others were injured. About 15,000 buildings remained without power as of 10.45 am in the northeastern region of Japan.

He also said some companies had stopped production due to damage from the earthquake.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, it struck at 11.36 pm local time Wednesday at a depth of 60 kilometers. Buildings in Tokyo were also shaken by the quake.

In 2011, an earthquake and tsunami devastated the area, killing more than 16,000 people and triggering a nuclear crisis in Fukushima. Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down following the nuclear disaster, forcing the country to rely on other energy sources, including coal and natural gas.

The quake also triggered a tsunami warning, which was later lifted. Immediate magnitude readings indicate the quake was less powerful.

Four Killed in Earthquake

A total of four deaths may be caused by the earthquake, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday, while the Defense Ministry dispatched the Self-Defence Forces for disaster relief in Fukushima Prefecture to provide water supply in regions where it has been disrupted.

At a parliamentary hearing, Kishida said, “We will take all necessary measures to deal with the disaster.” Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, said there have been no problems with nuclear power plants in the affected areas.

In Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, Toyota Motor Corp said it had suspended operations. Memory-chip maker Kioxia Holdings Corp reported some of its systems had been halted at one of its plants, and the company was investigating the impact on its production.

According to East Japan Railway Co, a Tohoku bullet train derailed on a stretch of track linking Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, although no injuries have been reported.

Due to the accident, the company halted bullet trains between Nasushiobara Station and Morioka Station from Thursday morning. It is not known when the services will resume.

Power Outages in Fukushima Prefecture

Tokyo Electric Power Co reported that around 2 million buildings within its service area lost electricity. However, power was restored by morning.

Fukushima’s nuclear regulators initially said a fire alarm went off at Dai-Ichi, though a fire was later determined not to have occurred. Water pumps used to cool the spent fuel pools at the Dai-Ni plant were also halted before being re-started.

Oil refinery Eneos Holdings Inc announced it ceased operations at its Negishi plant. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the intensity of the shaking was a 6 on the Shindo scale of 7 in parts of Miyagi prefecture.

NHK news reported there was a tsunami warning in the prefecture and residents of some cities were told to evacuate.

A tsunami warning was issued for the Pacific coast of Miyagi and Fukushima, but relatively small waves were observed at Ishinomaki port in Miyagi and other locations.

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