On Wednesday evening, a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima in northern Japan, triggering a tsunami warning and knocking out power to more than 2 million homes in the Tokyo area. The region is located in northern Japan, which was devastated 11 years ago by a deadly 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that also resulted in nuclear plant meltdowns. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where cooling systems failed following the 2011 disaster, said workers were inspecting the plant for any potential damage.
The quake struck at 11:36 p.m. at a depth of 60 kilometers (36 miles) beneath the sea, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The agency issued a tsunami warning for parts of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, warning of a 3-meter (3-foot) sea surge. According to NHK national television, the tsunami may have already reached some areas. Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force said it sent fighter jets from the Hyakuri base in Ibaraki prefecture, just south of Fukushima, to gather information and assess the damage. The quake knocked out power to more than 2 million homes in the Tokyo region served by TEPCO, according to the utility’s website. The quake shook much of eastern Japan, including Tokyo, causing buildings to sway violently. The majority of East Japan Railway Co.’s train services have been halted for safety checks, according to the company. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that the government was assessing the extent of the damage and promised to do everything possible to aid in rescue and relief efforts.