3 dead, over 160 injured after M7.4 quake hits northeastern Japan

Baku, March 17, AZERTAC

A powerful magnitude 7.4 earthquake off northeastern Japan late Wednesday left three people dead and more than 160 injured across 12 prefectures and caused a high-speed shinkansen to derail, according to Kyodo News.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday that authorities are looking into a total of four deaths apparently caused by the quake, while the Defense Ministry dispatched the Self-Defense Forces for disaster relief in Fukushima Prefecture to provide water service in areas where supply has been disrupted.

The 11:36 p.m. temblor, which came two minutes after a magnitude 6.1 quake, registered an upper 6 on Japan's seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures -- the areas that had been devastated by the March 11, 2011, mega-quake.

"We will take all possible measures to respond (to the disaster)," Kishida told a parliamentary session. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said there have been no problems with safety at nuclear power plants in the quake-hit areas.

A Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train derailed between Fukushima Station and Shiroishizao Station, but all 78 passengers and crew members aboard were unharmed, according to East Japan Railway Co.

The quake caused power outages in northeastern and eastern Japan, affecting a total of more than 2.2 million households, including some 700,000 in Tokyo, according to TEPCO Power Grid Inc. and Tohoku Electric Power Network Co. Power was later restored to most.

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