Quake rattles Japan, tsunami arrival ‘imminent’

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Tokyo, April 15 (IANS) Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture was rattled again by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake early on Saturday, with the latest temblor at 1.25 am. local time being felt across wide swathes of southern Japan and triggering a tsunami warning with the waves expected to hit coastal regions imminently.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning two minutes after the quake struck, saying waves of up to one metre could hit the coast of Japan, with the advisory given for both the Ariake and Yatsushiro sea areas, reported Xinhua.

The sea area is surrounded by Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Kumamoto Prefectures and the latter is a shallow semi-enclosed inland sea separating the island of Kyushu from the Amakusa Islands.

The agency said the tsunamis would be arriving “imminently” and advised coastal regions be evacuated immediately and areas near the sea or coastal regions to be avoided until the advisory is lifted.

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The latest quake, following hundreds of aftershocks in the wake of quakes striking overnight a day earlier and claiming the lives of nine people and injuring more than 1,000, measured in the upper six range of Japan’s seismic scale which peaks at 7, the agency said.

The quake struck at a latitude of 32.8 degrees north and longitude of 130.8 degrees east. As with the previous major quake, the epicenter was relatively shallow at a depth of just 10 km.

According to Xinhua reporters in the vicinity of the quake, aftershocks could still be felt as of 2.10 a.m. local time.

Xinhua’s reporters in Mashiki town of Kumamoto Prefecture heard police sirens whistling and felt the tremors continue.

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