Senior Editor

The Inertia

Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture is under a tsunami warning after an earthquake struck off the coast of Honshu early Tuesday morning.  Although it was initially reported as a 7.3, it was downgraded soon afterward to a 6.9, but reports still vary on the actual strength of the earthquake.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, a tsunami wave of up to 10 feet is possible. Just after the initial quake, two aftershocks were reported. The first registered 5.4 on the Richter Scale while the second was 4.8. Striking just over 20 miles off Japan’s east coast, it was relatively shallow, about 7 miles deep.

While the story is still developing, a tsunami wave has been reported just off the coast of Iwaki City in Fukushima. Japan’s public broadcast system is calling for evacuations from the area. “Please do not think that you are safe. Please evacuate to high grounds,” the network said. “Please think about the worst-case scenario and evacuate right away.”


Although reports are still filtering in, early ones stated that the Fukushima power plant cooling system failed, but that there is no immediate danger yet.

Of course, one can’t help drawing comparisons to the disastrous 2011 earthquake. On March 11, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck 231 miles to the northeast of Tokyo at a depth of 15.2 miles. The resulting tsunami consisted of waves about 30 feet, destroying several nuclear reactors.

 We’ll have more news on this story as it becomes available. Watch live coverage as it unfolds here.
*Updated from Japan Times:

NHK later reported that the cooling pump had been reactivated and cooling had resumed at Fukushima No. 2. Tepco said on its website that the magnitude-7.4 quake suspended the cooling system at around 6:10 a.m., but the system was restarted at 7:47 a.m.

Tsunami warnings were issued along the Pacific coast, including in Aomori, Iwate, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures. A later tsunami warning was also issued for Miyagi Prefecture as well.

The Fukushima and Miyagi warnings were later lifted.

A 1.4-meter tsunami was observed at Sendai port at 8:03 a.m. The 1.4-meter tsunami observed at Sendai was the largest since the March 11, 2011, megaquake, the agency said.


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