The Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures of Japan have suffered a 7.3 earthquake, injuring at least 50 and causing blackouts as power plants were sent offline.
Japan Times reports the earthquake occurred late on February 13th, and registered a strong 6 on Japan’s own seismic intensity scale (the second highest level). No tsunami warning was issued. Reported injuries came from Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, with power outages in those prefectures along with Iwate and Tochigi.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency stated the epicenter of the quake was around 220 kilometers north of Tokyo; off the coast of Fukushima, at an estimated depth of 55 kilometers. When the quake struck Tokyo at 11:07 p.m., it registered 4 on the Japanese earthquake intensity scale. Aftershocks between magnitude 3 and 5 also occurred after the quake.
Government spokesman Katsunobu Kato stated at a news conference that multiple power plants were offline, and at least 950,000 homes had no power as of midnight. While work was being done to restore power through to the morning, the Tohoku region would need more time.
A Meteorological Agency official stated during a news conference that aftershocks of up to strong 6 could occur for at least a week. An official also stated the earthquake was the aftershock of the same earthquake that struck Japan in March 11, 2011.
This was the same earthquake that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster; dubbed the , The Great East Japan Earthquake. It caused contaminated water to leak into the pacific ocean, and 154,000 residents to be evacuated. After this new earthquake, Tokyo Electric Power reported no abnormalities have been reported with the Fukushima power plant reactors.
Despite the long period of time between the two earthquakes, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute stated this was quite normal. “Because [the 2011 quake] was an enormous one with a magnitude of 9.0,” professor Kenji Satake stated, “it’s not surprising to have an aftershock of this scale 10 years later.”
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has directed government agencies to asses the damage and aid in rescues, along with the government setting up a task force to examine the effects of the quake.