Japan Issues Tsunami Warning After Strong Earthquake

Saturday, March 24th 2007, 8:46 pm
By: News On 6

Powerful quake rocks Japan; 1 dead, 40 injured


Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) _ A powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan on Sunday, triggering small tsunamis and killing at least one person.

The magnitude 7.1 quake struck shortly before 10 a.m. off the north coast of Ishikawa prefecture (state), Japan's Meteorological Agency said. The agency issued a tsunami warning urging people near the sea to move to higher land.

A small tsunami measuring 6 inches hit shore around 10:18 a.m. and a second one of similar size hit minutes later down the coast, the agency said. The warning was lifted about an hour later.

Television footage from the quake zone showed buildings shaking violently for about 30 seconds. Other shots showed a collapsed building and a shop with shattered windows.

At least one person was dead and 40 others injured along the Sea of Japan coast. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said a 52-year-old woman had died. National broadcaster NHK said she was crushed by a falling stone lantern.

``We felt violent shakings,'' said Wataru Matsumoto, deputy mayor of the town of Anamizu near epicenter, told NHK. He said his colleagues told him everything inside their houses had smashed to the ground.

Calls to police and local officials in the region were not immediately answered.

``We are doing our best to rescue the victims,'' Shiozaki said. ``We are also doing our best to assess the extent of damages.''

The government will dispatch police and defense forces to the quake zone to assist in disaster relief operations, Shiozaki said.

Train service in Ishikawa and nearby Toyama prefecture was suspended and all Nippon Airways flights between Ishikawa and Tokyo were delayed, Kyodo News agency said.

Nuclear power plants owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co. were operating normally in Niigata and Fukui prefectures, Kyodo said.

Japan sits atop four tectonic plates and is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake's epicenter was 225 miles northwest of Tokyo. The USGS measured its magnitude at 6.7.