An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale rocked the Tokyo area on Thursday (7/10) night, injuring more than 30 people, damaging underground water pipes and halting train services.
Traffic disturbances continued until Friday (8/10) morning. Various train services were delayed so many people flooded the stations.
The Meteorological Agency said the quake was centered in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo, at a depth of about 80 kilometers. There is no threat of a tsunami hazard following the earthquake.
The earthquake caused many buildings to sway and hanging objects to swing violently. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said no abnormalities were found at nuclear power facilities in the area.
Most trains operate on Friday (8/10) morning but with many delays and entry restrictions to avoid overcrowding. There was a long line outside Shinjuku station in Tokyo, and hundreds of early morning passengers flooded into Kawaguchi station.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said, Friday (8/10), as many as 32 people were injured, three of them seriously, as a result of the earthquake.
Police in Chiba prefecture, where 11 people were injured, said two women in separate locations had sprained ankles from being thrown during the quake. A commuter train partially derailed in East Tokyo during an emergency stop, causing three passengers to fall and have minor injuries, according to the Disaster Management Agency. Several others were injured in Kanagawa, Saitama and Gunma prefectures.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings said about 250 homes in downtown Tokyo were temporarily without power.
Shinkansen’ super-express trains entering and leaving Tokyo were stopped for security checks but then resumed operations, East Japan Railway Co. said.
Tokyo Yamanote ring line and subway services resumed Thursday evening, but with major delays. Outside Tokyo’s Shinagawa station, where train services were temporarily suspended due to a power outage, there was a long line of people trying to get a taxi home.
Dozens of people in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba were stranded at the station, and some took refuge in facilities set up by the local city government.
Many automatic lifts stopped, including those in the Tokyo metropolitan government buildings, temporarily trapping some people.
Fire and disaster officials said several underground water pipes were damaged at dozens of locations in Tokyo. In one district, water can be seen gushing from the ground.
New prime minister Fumio Kishida posted a message on Twitter urging citizens to check for updates and take action to protect themselves. He said it was the strongest earthquake in Tokyo since March 2011.
Kishida returned to his office late Thursday (7/10) to lead the government’s response efforts. [ab/uh]