At least 30 dead in Japan earthquake; rescues ongoing

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi reported Tuesday that at least 30 people have been killed in a powerful earthquake that struck central Japan on New Year’s Day. Additionally, 120 people are awaiting rescue in affected areas.

In a news conference, Hayashi stated that as of 11 a.m. local time, 955 evacuation centers had been established in Ishikawa and Niigata prefectures. A total of 57,360 people have evacuated to these centers.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has recorded more than 140 tremors since the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, hit on Monday. The agency warns that more strong shocks are possible in the coming days.

The earthquake prompted evacuations in some coastal areas as tsunami waves struck Japan’s west coast, causing some cars and houses to be swept into the sea.

A rescue crew of about 3,000, including army personnel, firefighters, and police officers from across the country, has been dispatched to the quake sites on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture.