On Monday afternoon the Japan Meteorological Agency confirmed that a fairly strong earthquake hit eastern Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, with an early magnitude rating of 6.2. The quake struck at 4:23 PM local time, and the government quickly confirmed that there was no need for a tsunami alert and no reports of serious injuries or damages.
The JMA says the earthquake’s epicenter was roughly 10 kilometers deep, and registered as a M5 in most of the prefectures surrounding Tochigi, including Nikko, Gunma, and Fukushima. Outwards from there, it was mostly recorded as between a 4 and 2, including Chiba and Tokyo, to the south. The tall buildings of Tokyo were observed as swaying for more than half a minute, while locals in Tochigi say the shaking was somewhat violent, it was very short and buildings appear to be ok.
The area’s nuclear power plants also quickly confirmed that there had been no damages and everything was stable, including TEPCO’s disaster-struck Fukushima facility. Bullet trains from Tokyo to the Fukushima and Niigata prefectures were immediately halted, however they resumed service about 20 minutes later, after safety inspections. While thankfully today’s quake wasn’t too serious, it does come as a harsh reminder of the earthquake and tsunami disasters that hit Japan’s northeast regions, occurring just short of the 2-year anniversary on March 11th.