A massive earthquake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, devastated Japan, causing tremendous damage to buildings and knocking out power to tens of thousands of households. Waves about one metre high impacted residents along Japan’s long western seaboard and neighbouring South Korea. The quake struck in the afternoon, forcing coastal residents to flee to higher ground. The disaster resulted in multiple deaths and prompted the dispatch of Army rescue teams. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that the access to worst-affected areas was a challenge due to blocked roads.
Magnitude of the Earthquake and its Impact
A severe earthquake, measured to be 7.6 in terms of magnitude, shook Japan in the middle of the afternoon, resulting in extensive damage such as the destruction of buildings and power outage to numerous homes. Coastal residents in some areas were forced to evacuate to safer regions.
Aftermath and Aftershock Waves
The earthquake created waves that were roughly 1 meter in height along Japan’s long western coastline and also affected South Korea. Army personnel were deployed to assist in rescue efforts, and a local airport was temporarily shut down as the tremor caused major fractures in the runway.
Fatalities and Injuries
NCB quoted the local police to report the death of an elderly man after a building collapse in Shika Town in Ishikawa Prefecture. Four more deaths in Ishikawa, as reported by Kyodo News, include individuals of different age groups. Japan’s Asahi newspaper confirmed the death of another man who had been rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building.
Statements by Global Leaders
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shared to the media that rescue and search teams found it challenging to reach the areas badly affected. Meanwhile, the U.S President Joe Biden expressed condolences and pledged to provide all the necessary aid.
Evacuations and Power Outages
As per the Japanese government, over 97,000 individuals residing in nine prefectures were ordered to evacuate. Hokuriku Electric Power’s website reported that almost 33,000 homes in Ishikawa Prefecture remained without power.
Impact on Japan’s Nuclear Industry
This earthquake coincides with a critical period for Japan’s nuclear industry, still recovering from the 2011 disaster that led to nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima. However, the Nuclear Regulation Authority confirmed no abnormalities at nuclear plants along the Sea of Japan.
The instability caused by such natural disasters can lead to fluctuations in the forex markets, thereby affecting trading. This is particularly true for assets connected to the Japanese economy, including perhaps the Japanese Yen.