Great earthquake shakes Japan's northeastern region

17:09, March 11, 2011      

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Video image taken from NHK shows local residents stay outside in the street of the area which is affected by the quake in northeast Japan, March 11, 2011. (Xinhua)

At least six people was killed and many more injured in a 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture Friday, which trigered a huge tsunami in coast areas of Japan and other Asian countries.

The earthquake hit Japan's northeastern Honshu island Friday, said the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), which issued a huge tsunami warning.

A 10-meter tsunami has washed the port in Sendai city, where many house were flooded with seawater. Meanwhile, the runways of Sendai airport were submerged from tsunami, said local media reports.

The JMA revised the magnitude of the quake from 7.9 to a magnitude of 8.8 while the U.S. Geological Survey upgraded it to 8. 9.

The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at 2:46 p.m.(0546 GMT), was located 130 km east of the coast of Miyagi Prefecture at a depth of 24.4 km under the seabed, said the JMA.

After the great quake occurred, all cabinet ministers were summoned to the prime minister's office and a crisis management team were set up there.

In Tokyo and surrounding areas, up to 4 million homes suffered a power cut.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government has dispatched Self-Defense Force troops to Miyagi Prefecture. And the defense ministry sent eight air fighters to check damage in the worst-hit areas.

And the Police Agency will dispatch 900 rescuers to the quake- hit areas in northeastern Japan.

All Shinkansen bullet trains were halted, local media reported, citing JR East.

And Tokyo metropolitan expressways as well as Tokyo subways and suburban rail services were also closed following the quake. But no big collapses were reported in Tokyo expressways.

In Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai airport was closed. A major power outage and gas leaks were reported in a number of areas in Sendai city, the capital of the prefecture.

Meanwhile, numerous people were injured, local media reported, citing Miyagi prefecture police.

In Iwate Prefecture, a four-meter-high tsunami was observed and dozens of cars and buildings were washed away.

In Fukushima Prefecture, two nuclear plants on Pacific coast were automatically shut down.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a press conference that no problems have occurred so far in Japan's nuclear power stations after the quake.

Kan called on the Japanese public to remain calm in the face of the disaster.

Fires were reported across a wide area, including at an ironworks in Chiba Prefecture.

The quake affected the nation's key transportation systems, including Narita airport, which were closed for safety checks of its runways.

Prime Minister Kan vowed Friday that the government will make full efforts to deal with the impact of a powerful earthquake .

"Our government will make all-out efforts to minimize the damage caused by the earthquake," Kan said at a news conference after the government set up a task force to deal with the quake, noting that the quake has caused extensive damage.

He urged the public to act calmly and keep themselves abreast of the latest information related to the earthquake, and said so far there is no problem with nuclear power plants.

The tsunami triggered by the quake was striking the coast areas of other countries in Asia. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is advising residents near the east coast to evacuate to higher grounds as tsunami will hit the Philippines at around 05:00 p.m. to 07:00 p.m. local time.

Phivolcs has already raised the tsunami alert to level 2 which means mandatory evacuation in eastern coastal areas. Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning on Friday after the quake triggered tsunami in Japan.

The tsunami was forecast to arrive in Indonesia at about 6: 00 p.m. Jakarta time (1100 GMT), an official of the agency Bayu Pranata told Xinhua by phone.

The tsunami was predicted to come at the northern and eastern parts of Indonesia, including North Sulawesi, North Maluku, northern tip of Papua such as Manokwari, Jayapura and Biak, he said.

A tsunami alert was issued in the Sakhalin region in Russia's Far East shortly after a massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan Friday.

According to Russia's state news agency, RIA Novosti, the regional Tsunami Research Center, Sakhalin AHEM, declared the warning for coastal communities of three districts of the Sakhalin region: Yuzhno-Kuril, Kuril and Northern Kuril.

Source: Xinhua

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