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Japan earthquake Update

Japan earthquake Update

1 January 2024:


At the Ziegler One desk we kept an eye on the developments of the earthquake in Japan with a magnitude 7.6 that struck in Ishikawa prefecture in central Japan on Monday afternoon 1 January 2024, triggering tsunami warnings for regions along the western coast.

  • Several nuclear plants in the region were operating normally, despite the major quake and tsunami in 2011 that caused three reactors to melt and release radiation.

  • The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa and lower-level warnings for the rest of the western coast of Honshu and Hokkaido. Although the warning was later downgraded and lifted, some places experienced waves over one meter high.

  • The aftermath left half-sunken ships and a muddied coastline, while rain forecasted raised concerns about infrastructure.

2 January 2024 update:

  • Toshitaka Katada, a University of Tokyo professor specializing in disasters, highlighted the region's history of earthquakes and the proactive measures taken by the Japanese, including evacuation plans and emergency supplies. Despite this preparation, he cautioned against excessive confidence in scientific predictions, stressing the inherent unpredictability of dealing with natural phenomena.

  • Staying in TOKYO on 2 January 2024 a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane carrying 379 people collided with a Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo's Haneda airport. The collision resulted in a fire on the JAL Airbus A350, with live footage on NHK showing the aircraft bursting into flames while skidding down the tarmac. All 379 people on board the JAL plane managed to escape the burning airliner. Tragically, five out of the six crew members on the smaller Coast Guard aircraft lost their lives in the incident. The collision occurred shortly before 6 p.m. (0900 GMT) at Haneda airport.

3 January 2024 update:

  • Damages to roadways, public transportation, and utilities; potential for prolonged power outages and disruptions.
  • Noto Airport closed until at least 4 January 2024; minor damage to Shiga Nuclear Power Plant, no risk of accident.
  • Shinkansen lines operating normally; some local trains suspended in Ishikawa and Niigata prefectures.
  • Closed roadways include Noto Satoyama Kaido, Noetsu Expressway, National Route 359, National Route 471, and National Route 8.
  • Cancelled tsunami warnings; 1.2-meter tsunami wave hit Wajima, causing a fire that destroyed 200 buildings; rainfall expected, raising landslide risk.
  • Power outages affecting 33,800 homes in Ishikawa, mainly in Noto region; water outages in 16 cities and towns, affecting 95,000 homes.
  • Telecom disruptions reported by Softbank and KDDI in Ishikawa and Niigata; communication disruptions likely in Toyama.
  • Epicenter 42 km northeast of Anamizu; violent to extreme shaking near epicenter, strong-to-very strong tremors in west-central Honshu, weak-to-moderate shaking in the rest of the island.
  • Dozens of aftershocks, magnitude-5.0 and above; comprehensive damage assessments may take several days.

8 January 2024 update:

  • Japan marked a week on Monday since a New Year's Day earthquake rocked Ishikawa Prefecture.

  • Scores of aftershocks, including a handful that registered as strong as 5 on the Japanese scale, continued to hit the region.

  • Snowstorms, meanwhile, made the relief effort a difficult trudge, though the peak of heavy snowfall has passed for the Noto area. Still, authorities warned of plunging temperatures and that snow accumulation could lead to the further collapse of buildings already rendered unstable due to the powerful quake and aftershocks.

  • Precipitation in some areas has also caused landslides, another headache for rescuers looking to make their way to more remote areas that have been difficult to reach by vehicle.

  • The cold weather is also likely to prevent people from appraising damage to their property.

Japan - Earthquake intensity scale:

The shindo scale, a distinctive seismic measurement system employed by the Japan Meteorological Agency, gauges the intensity of tremors during an earthquake. Unlike the earthquake magnitude, which quantifies the seismic energy at its source, the shindo scale uses numbers ranging from 0 to 7. As the assigned number increases, so does the magnitude of shaking and its effects. Shindo levels 5 and 6 are further divided into lower and upper tiers.


At the maximum level of 7, individuals may find it impossible to remain standing, potentially being thrown into the air. Unsecured furniture is prone to toppling over or being launched, and reinforced concrete walls may collapse. At the upper intensity of level 5, mobility becomes challenging for people, and dishes may fall from cupboards. In the lower tier of level 5, hanging objects may swing violently. Level 4, as defined by the agency, is noticeable to most individuals, even those in motion, and has the potential to awaken sleeping individuals. This level also causes significant swinging of hanging objects. Level 3, felt by most people at rest, can make plates in cupboards rattle.


Locations with a seismic intensity of Shindo 5- and higher









Nanao, Wajima, Suzu, Anamizu



Nakanoto, Noto





Hakui, Hōdatsushimizu, Kanazawa, Komatsu, Kaga, Kahoku, Nomi


Sanjō, Kashiwazaki, Mitsuke, Minamiuonuma, Kariwa, Itoigawa, Myōkō, Jōetsu, Chūō-ku, Minami-ku, Nishi-ku, Nishikan-ku, Tsubame, Aga, Sado


Toyama, Funahashi, Takaoka, Himi, Oyabe, Nanto, Imizu





Hakusan, Tsubata, Uchinada


Ojiya, Kamo, Tōkamachi, Izumozaki, Kita-ku, Higashi-ku, Kōnan-ku, Akiha-ku, Gosen, Agano


Namerikawa, Kurobe, Kamiichi, Tateyama, Asahi, Tonami


Fukui, Sakai


Nagano, Shinano, Sakae


Takayama, Hida





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