Powerful earthquake jolts Tokyo; no tsunami warning issued

FUKUOKA, Japan — A powerful earthquake jolted the greater Tokyo area Thursday, disrupting transit lines in central Tokyo and causing power outages in some parts of the city.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9, began at 10: 41 p.m. and lasted longer than 30 seconds, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Although there was no tsunami warning, Japanese officials had predicted that aftershocks would occur.

There was no major damage reported immediately after the quake. Officials said that the prime minister’s office had appointed a task force in order to evaluate the situation. Initial estimates of the magnitude of the quake were 6.1. However, they were later adjusted.

Officials said Thursday’s earthquake was the first time central Tokyo and Saitama, a city northwest of Tokyo, had recorded a major seismic event since the devastating quake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in March 2011.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the eastern outskirts of Tokyo, at a depth of about 80 kilometers (50 miles), the agency said.

Local and social media posts showed chaotic scenes in Tokyo, which recently reopened to nightlife after a coronavirus state of emergency was lifted last week.

Authorities received reports of at least one serious injury and 16 minor injuries but no major damage, said Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno. Many reports were received of water pipes bursting. Nuclear facilities around Tokyo reported no damage.

Some Tokyo residents were left scrambling to find new transportation options after train service was suspended, according to local media reports. Two hours later, trains were back in operation. NHK broadcast that a train was halted after an emergency, injuring at most three persons.

Elevators halted automatically during the earthquake as an emergency response measure. According to local reports, officials from Tokyo conducted sweeps of buildings in search for people trapped in elevators.

A resident posted videos of water flowing down the streets of the Meguro district in Tokyo, possibly due to a burst pipe. A second video was posted by a Tokyo resident showing water flowing in a bathtub after the earthquake.

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