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Thursday, May 26, 2022

New strong earthquake in Fukushima brings back bad memories

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The region around the nuclear ruins of Fukushima has been shaken again by a strong earthquake. Japan’s meteorological authority issued a tsunami warning of up to one meter in height for the Pacific coast of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures on Wednesday night (local time).

As of early Thursday morning (local time), the corresponding warnings were no longer in effect, Japanese broadcaster NHK and the Kyodo news agency reported.

At the former Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant there was a fire alarm in a turbine building, the operator Tepco announced. In addition, the bombs failed in a cooling pond for spent fuel rods at the second Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, twelve kilometers south of the nuclear ruins. However, according to Kyodo, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the morning after the quake that no irregularities had been detected at nuclear power plants in the affected areas.

A Shinkansen high-speed train derailed as a result of the earthquake, but the around 100 passengers on board were uninjured, according to local media reports. Kyodo reported at least one death and dozens of injuries after the earthquake. A man was killed in the city of Soma in Fukushima prefecture, he said without giving further details, citing the city administration.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area, 250 kilometers away, buildings began to sway for an alarmingly long time. Initially there were no reports of major damage. According to Kyodo, numerous people had to be transferred to hospitals in Fukushima. In addition, there was a temporary power outage in two million homes.

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The magnitude 7.3 tremor occurred almost exactly eleven years after the triple catastrophe in the northeast of the Asian island kingdom. At that time, the region was devastated by a devastating magnitude 9 earthquake and the resulting huge tsunami: core meltdowns occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Fortunately, this time the islanders were spared from such a catastrophe.

Many Japanese had already gone to sleep when the walls suddenly shook shortly before midnight. Shortly after, the tsunami warning of up to a meter in height was issued. Shortly after, a 20-centimeter tsunami was recorded in the port city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture. The Tokyo government immediately set up an emergency staff. The fact that a Shinkansen derailed shows how strong the shaking was. The Shinkansen is famous throughout the world for its extremely high security.

The Japanese were similarly stunned when, in October 2004, a Shinkansen went off the track for the first time after an earthquake, although no one was injured. The wrecked train could still be seen on state television for days, so much did the case gnaw at the pride of the nation.


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