Earthquake strikes southwestern Japan: No tsunami warnings issued

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A significant earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck off southwestern Japan on Wednesday night, as reported by the US Geological Survey (USGS), while the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) recorded a slightly higher magnitude of 6.4. Despite the substantial tremor, no major damage or tsunami warnings have been reported following the earthquake.

The epicenter was located in the Bungo Channel, a strait that separates the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku, approximately 18 kilometers west of Uwajima and at a depth of about 25 kilometers. Authorities have not issued any tsunami warnings but have urged the public to remain vigilant for possible aftershocks. On social media platform X, the JMA advised, “In areas where the jolt was strong, please don’t approach any dangerous areas. There is no risk of tsunami caused by this earthquake.”

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In response to concerns about the safety of local nuclear facilities, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority confirmed that the Ikata nuclear power plant, located near the affected area, was operating as usual without any detected abnormalities. Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi reassured the public, stating, “There are no tsunami warnings or abnormalities at any power plants.” Authorities are currently assessing if the quake has caused any damage to infrastructure or communities.

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The earthquake has left local residents shaken, with reports of strong tremors felt across the region. A fisherman from the Ehime region described his experience to broadcaster NHK: “I was about to go to bed when I felt the rumbling and knew a quake was coming. Then I felt the kind of jolt that I’ve never experienced in my life, and it kept shaking for 10 or 20 seconds.” He added, “I was a bit panicky.”

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Government efforts are focused on responding effectively to the earthquake’s aftermath and ensuring public safety. “We will do everything we can to respond,” stated Hayashi, highlighting the government’s commitment to safeguarding residents and assessing the overall impact of the quake.

The rapid response by Japanese authorities and the lack of significant damage or tsunami warnings indicate effective earthquake preparedness and response systems in Japan. Continued vigilance and preparedness measures are essential, especially in regions prone to seismic activity.

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