Large earthquake off Japan, tsunami warning issued

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Japan has issued a tsunami warning after experiencing a magnitude 7.1 earthquake off the west coast island of Honshu. The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.7 earthquake on March 25, 2007 at 9:41 a.m. local time near the west coast of Honshu and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Southern Pacific off Vanuatu at 11:40 a.m. local time. The tremor did not trigger a tsunami.

The USGS has reported subsequent smaller tremors in the regions of Honshu, on March 25, 2007 at 6:11 p.m. local time and Vanuatu, at 9:37 p.m., with magnitudes of 5.5 and 5.2, respectively.

Japan's Meteorological Agency lifted the tsunami advisory for Ishikawa prefecture at 11:30 a.m. JST.

ABC news says that 21 people died in the quake. The death occurred after a woman was struck, reportedly, by a stone lantern in her garden. NHK also states that South Korea's meteorological agency broadcast a tsunami advisory for the eastern and southeastern coast areas. A 50 cm tsunami was expected to reach the Busan area at 12:02 pm local time.

NHK also reported that the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata prefecture was operating normally. Hokuriku Electric Power Co. reported no effects from the earthquake and that the Number 1 and 2 reactors at its Shika nuclear power plant were shut down. It is reported that some 9400 homes in the region are without water and approximately 100 without electricity. Some roads have been damaged, railway service interrupted in the affected areas, and the Noto Airport in Ishikawa prefecture remains closed.

The Japanese government has set up a task force at the risk management center in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence. It is collecting information to confirm damage.