Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Shakes Japan

Residence fleeing because of a Tsunami warning in Iwaki, Fukushima. Photo taken from the Associated Press

On Tuesday Nov. 22, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit northern Japan. The quake was originally recorded as having a magnitude of 7.3, but has since been brought down to 6.9 by the United States Geological Survey. The Japan Meteorological Agency has stated that the earthquake was positioned off the coast of Fukushima at a depth of 6 miles.

A small tsunami followed suit.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that a wave of up to 4.5 feet high was seen at the city of Sendai, 45 miles north of Fukushima.

No fatalities occurred in the quake, although 15 were injured.

NHK stated that, “a woman in her 80s in Kashiwa City in [the] Chiba Prefecture broke her leg when she lost her footing and fell down stairs in her house. A woman in her 70s in Yabuki Town in [the] Fukushima Prefecture was injured when a cupboard toppled over. [And,] 13 other people were also injured in Tokyo and Fukushima, Miyagi and Chiba Prefectures.”

In response to the event, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that the Japanese government planned to put their best effort into emergency response. Abe said, “We will announce any information regarding tsunami or evacuation swiftly, and will quickly gather information regarding any damages, and will put in our best effort in responding to emergencies. We will also work together with local municipalities, and become united as a government to ensure safety and respond to disasters the best we can.”

This most recent earthquake, called for a reflection on the unembellished natural disaster that took place five years prior, also in Fukushima, that involved a massive earthquake, multiple tsunamis, and a nuclear disaster. The travesty of March 11, 2011 was so notorious that it has gone down in history as the Great Sendai Earthquake and Great Tōhoku Earthquake.

According to CNN, the Great Sendai Earthquake of 9.0 magnitude was one of the worst ever to hit Japan, killing more than 20,000 people and causing tsunamis of up to 40 feet that swamped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, thus triggering a nuclear meltdown, the worst since Chernobyl.

Japan is susceptible to such devastating earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. Because of this, Japan accounts for 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes with magnitudes of 6 or more.

Since the earthquake in 2011, Japan has taken great safety precautions, ensuring that emergency systems be updated to spread warnings more quickly.