TOKIO - Als gevolg van een zware aardbeving in Japan is zondag zeker een dode gevallen. Meer dan honderd mensen raakten gewond, van wie tien ernstig.
De Japanse autoriteiten deden direct na de beving een waarschuwing voor een mogelijke kleine tsunami uitgaan, maar trokken die later weer in. De beving had een kracht van 6.9 op de schaal van Richter.
Het epicentrum lag in de Zee van Japan bij het schiereiland Noto in de regio Ichikawa. Het schokken van de aarde was 300 kilometer verder in Tokio nog te voelen.
Een 52-jarige vrouw kwam om het leven in Wajima, een stad aan de westelijke kant van Noto. Daar vielen ook zo'n 40 gewonden. In Wajima stortten zeker twintig gebouwen in. Ook in de plaats Nanao raakten mensen gewond door vallend puin en branden die als gevolg van de beving ontstonden.
Vrijwel op het zelfde moment als tijdens de beving in Japan, deden zich twee zware aardschokken voor bij de eilandenstaat Vanuatu in de Stille Oceaan. Volgens seismologen leveren de bevingen van 7.1 en 7.3 op de schaal van Richter, geen gevaar op voor de bevolking van Vanuatu.
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A powerful earthquake struck Japan on Sunday, killing at least one person and injuring 160 others as it damaged buildings and triggered a small tsunami along the coast, officials and media reports said.
The magnitude-6.9 quake struck at 9:42 a.m. (0042 GMT) 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 10 centimeters (6 inches) hit the shore 36 minutes later, the agency said. The warning was lifted after about an hour.
The quake toppled buildings, triggered landslides, cut power, interfered with phone service, broke water mains and snarled public transportation. At least one person was killed and 160 others were hurt along the country's Sea of Japan coast, media reports said.
Fear of aftershocks and more landslides caused by the loosening of soil waterlogged by overnight rains continued to plague the quake zone.
Television footage of the quake showed buildings shaking violently for about 30 seconds. Other shots showed collapsed buildings and shops with shattered windows, streets cluttered with roof tiles and roads with cracked pavement.
In Ishikawa, at least 132 people were injured, 10 severely, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. In neighboring Toyama, at least five people were injured, it said in a statement.
Many of the injured people suffered burns or were hurt by falling objects and broken glass, media reports said.
A warehouse lies destroyed by the earthquake in Ishikawa prefecture, northern Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki confirmed the death of a 52-year-old woman. Public broadcaster NHK said she was crushed by a falling stone lantern.
"We are doing our best to rescue the victims," he said. "We are also doing our best to assess the extent of the damage."
Kyodo News agency reported about 30 soldiers had arrived to help with disaster relief, and military aircraft were examining the damage. Some 375 firefighters from seven other prefectures were also dispatched to help, the FDMA said.
"We felt violent shaking. My colleagues say the insides of their houses are a mess, with everything smashed on the floor," Wataru Matsumoto, deputy mayor of the town of Anamizu near the epicenter, told NHK.
The quake also knocked down at least 46 homes in Ishikawa, and partially destroyed another 239, the FDMA said. Most of the injuries and damage were concentrated in the city of Wajima, it added.
Takeshi Hachimine, seismology and tsunami section chief at the Meteorological Agency, said the affected area was not considered earthquake-prone. The last major quake to cause casualties there was in 1933, when three people died.
He warned of likely aftershocks.
"After the powerful earthquake, aftershocks will continue," Hachimine said. "All residents, especially those who are near the hardest-hit areas, are advised to use extra caution. Aftershocks could further damage what's already fragile."
Train service in Ishikawa and nearby Toyama prefecture was suspended and All Nippon Airways flights between Ishikawa and Tokyo were delayed, Kyodo 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.
Hokuriku Electric Power Co. said at least 340 households in the area were without electrical power.
Japan sits atop four tectonic plates and is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. The last major quake to hit the capital, Tokyo, killed some 142,000 people in 1923, and experts say the capital has a 90 percent chance of suffering a major quake in the next 50 years.
In October 2004, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit northern Japan, killing 40 people and damaging more than 6,000 homes. It was the deadliest to hit Japan since 1995, when a magnitude-7.2 quake killed 6,433 people in the western city of Kobe.
Powerful quakes in 1703, 1782, 1812 and 1855 also caused vast damage in the capital.
Japan's Meteorological Agency assigned Sunday's quake a preliminary magnitude of 7.1, but later revised that to 6.9.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of Sunday's quake was 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Tokyo. The USGS measured its magnitude at 6.7.
Wajima is about 312 kilometers (193 miles) northwest of Tokyo.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press
Damaged buildings are seen in Yomiuri March 25, 2007.
A damaged road is seen in Yomiuri March 25, 2007.
[img width=278 height=320]http://www.reuters.com/resources/r/?m=02&d=20070325&t=2&i=518767&w=[/img]
A man looks at a house damaged by an earthquake in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan March 25, 2007.
â€¢ Magnitude 6.9 quake off coast of Japan kills one, injures 193
â€¢ 5.3-magnitude and 4.8-magnitude aftershock temblors struck on Monday
â€¢ Meteorological Agency warns strong aftershocks could continue for a week
â€¢ Electricity restored to most homes after outages affected 160,000 households
Deze foto is niet meer beschikbaar
Collapsed houses after an earthquake struck in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, Sunday
WAJIMA, Japan (Reuters) -- Aftershocks jolted the west coast of central Japan on Monday, keeping residents on edge a day after a strong earthquake killed one person, injured nearly 200 and flattened homes.
Sunday morning's 6.9-magnitude quake, which struck the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of Tokyo, destroyed houses, buckled roads, triggered landslides and cut off water and electricity supplies to thousands of homes.
A 5.3-magnitude temblor, one of more than 175 aftershocks, struck early on Monday, and a 4.8-magnitude quake jolted the area in mid-afternoon, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.
Officials warned that more could occur.
About 2,600 people spent the night in evacuation shelters, and many other residents slept in their cars.
"The aftershocks are scary, so I spent last night in an evacuation center," said 83-year-old Kiyo Kawaguchi, surveying the damage to her home in the rural city of Wajima, one of the hardest-hit areas.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary panel in Tokyo that 68 houses, many of them old wooden structures with heavy tile roofs, had been destroyed and another 164 badly damaged.
The government's disaster agency put the total number of damaged houses at 564 and public broadcaster NHK said more than 10,000 households lacked running water.
An emergency-relief team of firefighters that had been searching the rubble of collapsed houses confirmed that no one was trapped, an Ishikawa prefecture official said.
Shogoro Hashimura, 81, hid under a table at the office of his sawmill in Wajima when Sunday's quake struck.
"When I looked outside, my truck was trapped under the rubble and woodchips and lumber were strewn all over," he said.
"I want to do something about my collapsed mill, but I can't until the aftershocks stop."
The plight of Wajima's elderly highlights the vulnerability of Japan's aging population when disasters strike.
"I'm worried because there aren't many young people in this neighborhood and I don't know how I'll cope with this mess," said 76-year-old Kazuko Kakuda, who had returned from an evacuation center with her husband Tsunetaro, 77, to try to clean up the toppled furniture and broken dishes in their home.
The Meteorological Agency, using an early warning system that detects smaller temblors before a main quake hits, issued a tsunami alert on Sunday about 100 seconds after the quake, about two minutes faster than previously.
The tsunami warning was lifted the same day after small waves hit some areas.
The agency was also able to send an "emergency earthquake flash" to monitors about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the focus about five seconds before the strong quake rattled the region.
Deze foto is niet meer beschikbaar
A warehouse lies destroyed by the earthquake in Ishikawa prefecture, northern Japan.
But hard-hit Wajima failed to receive the warning before the temblor struck because it was too close to the focus.
The agency plans to use the system, in place for tsunami warnings to a limited number of subscribers since October, for earthquake announcements starting later this year.
Electricity was restored to most homes after outages on Sunday affected around 160,000 households, Noto airport on the peninsula reopened after cracks on the runway were repaired, and train services were back to normal, officials and media said.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, which accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
Copyright 2007 Reuters.
Workers investigate the situation near a huge rock felled by Sunday's earthquake in Wajima, Japan, March 26, 2007. Aftershocks shook central Japan's coast on Monday, a day after a powerful earthquake killed at least one person and injured 193 others as it toppled buildings, triggered landslides and generated a small tsunami along the coast. Experts warned that strong aftershocks could continue for a week. (Photo: AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
[img width=426 height=320]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2007/03/26/image2608418.jpg[/img]
A helmeted postman on a motorcycle rumbles past flattened buildings at Wajima, one of the hardest-hit areas in Ishikawa prefecture, northern Japan, on March 26, 2007. A quake early Sunday killed one person and injured 193 others, but officials said a new warning system provided a potentially lifesaving edge over the country's older alert system. (Photo: AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
[img width=472 height=320]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2007/03/26/image2610050.jpg[/img]
An elderly man pushes his bicycle as he goes over a bump between a bridge and a road caused by the ground sinking after an earthquake a day earlier in Wajima, one of the hardest-hit areas in Ishikawa prefecture, northern Japan, on March 26, 2007. The quake early Sunday killed one person and injured 193 others. Two strong aftershocks were recorded on Monday. (Photo: AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
[img width=215 height=320]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2007/03/26/image2610038.jpg[/img]
A road destroyed by an earthquake is seen in Wajima, Japan, on March 26, 2007. Two aftershocks that shook central Japan's coast on Monday had magnitudes of 5.3 and 4.8. Sunday's magnitude-6.9 quake struck off the north coast of Ishikawa, killing at least one person and injuing 193 others as it toppled buildings, triggered landslides and generated a small tsunami along the coast. (Photo: AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
[img width=218 height=320]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2007/03/26/image2610072.jpg[/img]
A tiny minivan, far right, is washed away on a seaside road after a landslide caused by an earthquake in Wajima, Japan, on March 25, 2007. A powerful earthquake struck the area Sunday morning, damaging buildings and triggering a small tsunami along the coast. (Photo: AP Photo/Kyodo News)
[img width=243 height=320]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2007/03/26/image2610086.jpg[/img]
Residents look at collapsed part of the Noto Tollway in Nanao, northern Japan, on March 25, 2007. On Monday, officials deemed Japan's new earthquake early alert system a success. The system, which allows for faster warnings of possible tsunamis, is more sensitive than the old one and can detect slight tremors that travel underground ahead of the larger quake. (Photo: AP Photo/Kyodo News)
[img width=284 height=320]http://www.cbsnews.com/images/2007/03/26/image2610110.jpg[/img]
A man walks down a collapsed house destroyed by Sunday's earthquake, in Wajima, northern Japan, on March 26, 2007. A powerful quake tore into a rural area of coastal central Japan on Sunday, killing at least one person as it toppled aging farmhouses and temples, set off landslides and caused a small tsunami. (Photo: AP Photo/Kyodo News)