Japan's Pacific Coast Hit By Tsunami Waves after Tonga Eruption (+Video)
- January, 16, 2022 - 11:10
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A tsunami struck Japan's Pacific coast early Sunday, leading the weather agency to issue a tsunami warning and advisories, and over 210,000 residents to flee to higher ground.
The incident happened after a large underwater volcanic eruption in the South Pacific island country of Tonga the day before.
The Meteorological Agency had initially said Sunday a 3-meter tsunami may still hit the northeastern prefecture of Iwate, but later downgraded the warning to an advisory, The Japan Times reported.
A 1.2-meter tsunami was observed in the city of Amami shortly before Saturday midnight, while a 1.1-meter tsunami arrived in Iwate Prefecture at 2:26 a.m. Sunday.
According to the agency, a small tsunami of less than 1 meter was observed across a wide area of the country’s Pacific coast from Hokkaido to Kyushu and Okinawa.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said at least 210,000 people in seven prefectures — Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Chiba, Kochi, Miyazaki and Kagoshima — were asked to flee from the seaside. The alert included areas hit by the deadly March 2011 tsunami.
Fourteen boats either were capsized, sank or floated away in Kochi Prefecture, and five were capsized in Tokushima Prefecture, while no casualties were reported. Japan Airlines also cancelled 27 flights at airports across the country.
In Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, which was severely damaged in the 2011 tsunami, people evacuated to a temple that sits on high ground following a tsunami warning at around 3 a.m. Sunday.
During a news conference early Sunday, a weather agency official called on residents of Japan’s Pacific coast to remain away from seaside areas until the warning and advisories are lifted, noting that multiple tsunami waves may arrive.
Following the tsunami warning and advisories by the agency, the government set up a liaison section at the Prime Minister’s Office to gather information.
The weather agency on Saturday evening had said there was a chance of minor sea level changes in Japan but had ruled out a damaging tsunami and did not initially issue a warning or advisory. The agency then shifted gears shortly after 12 a.m. Sunday when the warning was issued, though waves had apparently already arrived in some areas.
A tsunami warning was last issued in Japan in November 2016, after a magnitude 7.4 quake rattled northeastern Japan.
Tsunami waves may have been magnified due to changes in atmospheric pressure in wide areas caused by the eruption, according to the agency.
The massive underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga was so powerful it was recorded around the world, scientists said Sunday.