And a tsunami warning and calls for immediate evacuation has been issued for the coastal region where the disastrous 11 March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami [previously] caused more than 16,000 deaths and a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Diaichi reactor system.
This map from the U.S. Geological Survey pinpoints the quake’s epicenter:
From Japanese state broadcaster NHK World:
Municipal authorities in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, are urging residents of coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground following a powerful earthquake on Tuesday morning.
The Japan Meteorological Agency says the magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit off Fukushima Prefecture around 6 AM. It issued a warning for tsunami of up to 3 meters.
A tsunami of 90 centimeters was observed at Soma Port in the city of Soma after 7 AM.
Firefighting officials in the city of Iwaki said a fire broke out at a petrochemical complex in the district of Nishikimachi, but they have extinguished it at around 6:40 AM.
More from Bloomberg:
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Japan off the coast of Fukushima, home to the nuclear power plant badly damaged in the March 2011 triple disaster, triggering a tsunami alert.
The temblor struck at 5:59 a.m. local time at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which issued a warning for a tsunami of three meters (10 feet) for the coast of Fukushima and a lesser warning for the northeastern coast of the country. The warning is the largest issued since the aftermath of the 2011 disaster.
A tsunami of 90 centimeters was detected in Soma port in Fukushima, as local authorities and the national broadcaster urged residents to remember the experience of 2011 and evacuate to higher ground. The office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on its Twitter account it had set up a liaison office to gather information.
NHK warned bigger tsunami waves could hit the coast.
Workers at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, which was crippled after the record tsunami almost six years ago, were evacuated, according to a spokesman.
Reactor cooling system fails
Making matters worse, the cooling system for at least one of the remaining nuclear reactors at the plant has failed, according to numerous reports.
From the Australia’s 9 News:
Tokyo Electric Power Co told national broadcaster NHK the water cooling system in reactor number 3 that supplies cold water to the nuclear rods in Fukushima’s Daini power plant has stopped working.
It is checking other reactors at Onagawa and the sister plant in Daiichi, Fukushima which was the centre of a catastrophic nuclear disaster in the 2011.
Finally, a brief video excerpt of ongoing coverage of the quake and tsunami by NHK: