The magnitude-6.9 quake struck at 9:42 a.m. local time off the northcoast of Ishikawa prefecture (state), Japan's Meteorological Agencysaid, about 225 miles northwest of Tokyo. The agency issued a tsunamiwarning urging people near the sea to move to higher land.
A small tsunami measuring 6 inches hit shore about 40 minutes afterthe quake, the agency said. The warning was lifted about an hour later.
Lower intensity temblors continued to strike the region throughoutthe afternoon. A strong temblor with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 hitat 6:14 p.m., but there was no tsunami danger, the agency said.
The quake toppled buildings, triggered landslides, cut power,interfered with phone service, broke water mains and snarled publictransportation. At least one person was killed and 162 others were hurtalong the country's Sea of Japan coast, media reports said.
Fear of aftershocks and more landslides caused by the loosening ofsoil waterlogged by overnight rains continued to plague the quake zone.
Television footage of the quake showed buildings shaking violentlyfor about 30 seconds. Other shots showed collapsed buildings and shopswith shattered windows, streets cluttered with roof tiles and roadswith cracked pavement.
Many of the injured people suffered burns or were hurt by falling objects and broken glass, media reports said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki confirmed the death as a52-year-old woman. Public broadcaster NHK said she was crushed by afalling stone lantern.
"We are doing our best to rescue the victims," he said. "We are also doing our best to assess the extent of the damage."
The government will dispatch police and defense forces to the quake zone to assist in disaster relief, Shiozaki said.
Calls to police and prefectural officials in the region were not immediately answered.
"We felt violent shaking. My colleagues say the insides of theirhouses are a mess, with everything smashed on the floor," WataruMatsumoto, deputy mayor of the town of Anamizu near the epicenter, toldNHK.
Takeshi Hachimine, seismology and tsunami section chief at theMeteorological Agency, said the affected region was not considered aquake-prone area. The last major quake that caused deaths there was in1933 when three people died.
He warned that after aftershocks are expected.
"After the powerful earthquake, aftershocks will continue,"Hachimine said. "All residents, especially those who are near thehardest-hit areas, are advised to use extra caution. Aftershocks couldfurther damage what's been already fragile."
Train service in Ishikawa and nearby Toyama prefecture was suspendedand All Nippon Airways flights between Ishikawa and Tokyo were delayed,Kyodo News agency said.
Nuclear power plants owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and KansaiElectric Power Co. were operating normally in Niigata and Fukuiprefectures, Kyodo said.
Japan sits atop four tectonic plates and is one of the world'smost earthquake-prone countries. The last major quake to hit thecapital of Tokyo killed some 142,000 people in 1923, and experts saythe capital has a 90 percent chance of suffering a major quake in thenext 50 years.
In October 2004, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit northern Japan,killing 40 people and damaging more than 6,000 homes. It was thedeadliest to hit Japan since 1995, when a magnitude-7.2 quake killed6,433 people in the western city of Kobe.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16