Magnitude 7.3 earthquake off Fukushima, Japan causes about 50 injuries

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred off the eastern coast of Japan yesterday at 23:08 local time (1408 UTC) at a depth of, by varying reports, about 55–60km. As of late yesterday, BBC reported about 50 people were injured in the earthquake. Reports indicated nearly a million houses had no power. In Tokyo, the BBC also noted, the earthquake was felt strongly.

There have been at least fourteen aftershocks to this earthquake, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported. Initially the JMA said the earthquake had a magnitude of of 7.1, but this was later updated to 7.3. A spokesperson from the JMA said "Where the tremor was felt the strongest, there is higher risk of structural collapse and landslides". Japan's prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, advised people to stay inside and be prepared for the risk of aftershocks.

No tsunami warning was issued. However, some residents of coastal areas have chosen to evacuate to higher places. One person who evacuated told the BBC "[e]ven if people say we don't need to worry about a tsunami, I won't buy it [...] I learned from my bitter experience 10 years ago, and that's why I evacuated."

The JMA said this earthquake may have been an aftershock of the 2011 earthquake which caused a tsunami, the tenth anniversary of which is in a few weeks. The 2011 earthquake and resultant tsunami resulted in more than 18,000 deaths. It also caused radiation leakage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Of the current event, Prime Minister Suga said "[t]here have been no anomalies reported from any of the nuclear facilities".