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Magnitude 8.9 Quake Shakes Japan, Tsunami Hits Northeast Coast

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A message from the Asahi Shimbun: Editor’s note: We will update our earthquake news as frequently as possible on AJW’s Facebook page. Please check to keep informed on what’s happening. / Toshio Jo, managing editor at International Division, The Asahi Shimbun.

Smoke rises from a building near Tokyo Bay in this photo taken from the waterfront district of Tokyo's Chuo Ward on Friday. (Mitsuyoshi Amata)

Smoke rises from a building near Tokyo Bay in this photo taken from the waterfront district of Tokyo's Chuo Ward on Friday. (Mitsuyoshi Amata)

Nikkei has reported that a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 struck Japan Friday afternoon, causing damage in Tokyo, many reported injuries in the north where the quake was centered and sending a tsunami hurtling toward the country’s northeastern coast.

The quake, originally reported at a magnitude of 7.9 but later upgraded to 8.9 apparently exceeding the 8.9 quake that struck off Chile in February 2010.

Yomiuri Shimbun has coverage of the quake here.

Local television reported smoke rising from a Tokyo port building, and fire in the capital’s waterfront Odaiba district. There were reports of “numerous” injuries in Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan where the quake was centered, as a tsunami measured at anywhere from one meter to 4.2 meters hit at various places along the coast.

See NHK TV for video and reports here, here and here.

The US Geological Survey page for the quake is here. Key data:

Location    38.322°N, 142.369°E
Depth    24.4 km (15.2 miles) set by location program
Region    NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances    130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan

A tsunami warning included Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Guam, the Northern Marianas, the Marcus Islands and the Wake Islands, while 15 nations and territories were covered by a tsunami watch.

In Tokyo, hundreds of concerned office workers tried in vain to make calls on jammed cellphone networks, some wearing hard hats and other protective headgear. Many of them streamed out of buildings in the business district, gathering in open areas. The crowd appeared spooked by the sound of glass windows rattling in tall buildings.

Services on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, as well as on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines, were suspended. All services on the Tokyo Metro subway systems in the Tokyo metropolitan area were stopped.

Aftershocks were continuing, with one hitting magnitude 7.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Tall buildings swayed violently in central Tokyo as the aftershocks hit.

NHK Television reported that water could be seen rising over cars and pouring into warehouses at Onahama port in Fukushima Prefecture; in Iwate Prefecture a building was washed away, with boats and cars swirling around in the rising waters.

Location 38.322°N, 142.369°E
Depth 24.4 km (15.2 miles) set by location program
Region NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances 130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan

Written by makanaka

March 11, 2011 at 13:04

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