Japan sees tsunami but no major damage after Tonga volcano eruption

Baku, January 16, AZERTAC

Japan saw tsunami waves of about 1 meter high in coastal areas on Sunday but no major damage or flooding after the eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga led to evacuation orders for nearly 230,000 citizens, according to Kyodo News.

Japan's weather agency issued tsunami warnings and advisories in the early hours for the Pacific coast from Hokkaido to Okinawa, but these were all lifted in the afternoon, after around 14 hours.

The agency said slight sea-level fluctuations may continue for some time, but there is no risk of disaster. However, it cautioned over marine activities such as those done underwater and fishing.

While there were no serious human casualties, some fishing boats were capsized and the warnings caused delays or cancellations to public transport.

Up to 229,000 people in eight prefectures -- Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Chiba, Tokushima, Kochi, Miyazaki and Kagoshima -- were asked to flee from the seaside, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Some high school students in the prefectures who were to sit for the 2-day nationwide university entrance examinations from Saturday had to adjust to new time schedules.

A 1.2-meter wave was observed on Amami Island in Japan's southwest shortly before Saturday midnight, while a 1.1-meter one later arrived in Iwate Prefecture in the northeast which was hit by the 2011 deadly tsunami.

Train, air and maritime transport services were affected, with 27 Japan Airlines domestic flights including to and from Amami canceled. A total of 22 ships in Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, were found to have capsized or drifted.

A volcano about 65 kilometers north of Nuku'alofa erupted Saturday, with the entire island nation reportedly hit by tsunami as high as 80 centimeters. Other Pacific islands and the United States also observed tsunami, but there have been no reports of major damage or casualties.

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