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Japan issues major tsunami warning after 7.6 magnitude earthquake

A tsunami warning has been issued in Japan after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 hit the central region of the country on Monday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued tsunami warnings for the coastal prefectures of Ishikawa, Niigata and Toyama.

Waves of up to five metres high are believed to be reaching Noto in Ishikawa, according to the meteorological agency.

Residents have been urged to “evacuate immediately to higher ground”, public broadcaster NHK reported. It warned torrents of water could reach as high as five metres.

A tsunami warning is shown on TV in Yokohama, near Tokyo Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. Japan issued tsunami alerts Monday after a series of strong quakes in the Sea of Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A tsunami warning is shown on TV in Yokohama, near Tokyo Monday, 1 January 2024 (Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Reports of damage were not immediately available.

Senior government spokesperson Hayashi Yoshimasa said in an emergency press conference that authorities were still assessing the extent of the damage and warned residents to prepare for possible further quakes.

Hokuriku Electric Power said it is checking for any irregularities at its nuclear power plants.

The utilities provider said more than 36,000 households lost power in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures.

A spokesperson for Kansai Electric Power said there were currently no abnormalities at its nuclear power plants but the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Nuclear plant operator Tepco also said it is checking the impact of the earthquake on its facilities.

Jordan Allen, a news editor at the Japan Times, was in the eastern Toyama prefecture when the earthquake struck.

He told the Japan Times: “I’ve lived in Japan for nine years and I’ve not felt anything like this before.” 

Additional reporting by agencies

This is a breaking story and is being updated.

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