Powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake rattles Tokyo
- A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has hit just east of the Japanese capital
- Officials have said there is no tsunami danger but have warned residents to ‘take action to protect your lives’
- The epicentre was located in the Chiba prefecture at a depth of 48 miles
- A bridge in Chiba has been closed after a water pipe ruptured and train services have been stopped
- The quake cause buildings to sway and disruption to services but there have been no immediate reports of severe damage or injury
- MORE TO FOLLOW
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake has hit the Japanese capital of Tokyo.
Buildings swayed, traffic came to a standstill and residents were told to ‘take action to protect your lives’ as violent tremors rattled the city at about 10.40pm local time (1.41pm GMT).
But officials have reported no tsunami danger from the quake which was centred in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo, at a depth of 48 miles.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said the quake registered a tremor of ‘5 plus’ on Japan’s own ‘shindo’ scale of quake intensity, jolting Tokyo and surrounding areas late on Thursday evening.
The strength of the quake could cause considerable damage to buildings and power cuts, and residents received an emergency warning to their phones advising them to take shelter.
The government of new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has set up a taskforce to co-ordinate local authorities’ and emergency services’ response to any damage and injuries, with Kishida telling NHK the task force will ‘find out about the latest situation and provide information to the public in a speedy manner.’
Several bullet train lines were halted due to the quake, the broadcaster said, while Otsubo Bridge in Ichihara City in Chiba was closed after the tremors caused a water pipe to rupture.
The Tokyo Electric Power Corporation reported 250 cases of blackouts in the city.
‘Without doubt the strongest earthquake I’ve experienced in almost 5 years in Japan,’ tweeted nature photographer and videographer James Reynolds from Tokyo.
‘JMA shows epicentre on east side of Tokyo Bay, in Chiba. Magnitude 6.1 with Shindo 5+ shaking in the heart of the city.’
The 6.1-magnitude quake hit at 10:41pm (13:41 GMT). Its epicenter was registered in the Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo, at a depth of 48 miles
NHK TV showed a sign hanging from the ceiling in its office swaying violently, and said that the ‘Shinkansen’ super express trains in and out of Tokyo were temporarily halted as power lines shook from the tremors.
Many elevators automatically stopped, including those at Tokyo’s metropolitan government building, and officials were using stairs, NHK said.
Yoshiyuki Yoshihara, an official in Tokyo’s Adachi district, said a number of elevators stopped with people trapped inside but later resumed operation.
Video taken in the busy downtown districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku showed cars moving and people walking on the streets as usual, experiencing only minor tremors.
New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida posted a message on Twitter urging people to ‘check the latest information and take action to protect your lives.’
The quake has caused buildings to sway and a disruption of services but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the authorities are investigating any possible damage, but confirmed there were no abnormalities at nuclear power facilities in the area.
Japan sits on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
Last week, a 6.1-magnitude quake struck off Japan’s northwestern coast, also causing no damage.
The country is regularly hit by quakes, and has strict construction regulations intended to ensure buildings can withstand strong tremors.
But it remains haunted by the memory of the March 11, 2011 undersea quake that triggered a deadly tsunami and unleashed the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The tsunami left some 18,500 dead or missing.
The quake has caused buildings to sway and a disruption of services, and has caused the contents of some homes and buildings to be displaced, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries
The strength of the quake could cause considerable damage to buildings in the capital (pictured) and power cuts. Several bullet train lines were halted due to the quake, which public broadcaster NHK said caused buildings to sway