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Major tsunami warning as 7.6 magnitude earthquake hits Japan

Major tsunami warning as 7.6 magnitude earthquake hits Japan

Residents in Ishikawa were told to 'evacuate immediately to higher ground amid fears that 5 metre tall waves would roll in.

Japan has issued a major tsunami warning after a series of powerful earthquakes struck.

Ishikawa and other nearby prefectures were hit shortly after 4pm on Monday and one quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Residents in Noto, a coastal area in Ishikawa, were told to 'evacuate immediately to higher ground', according to national broadcaster NHK TV, amid fears that 5 metre tall waves would roll in.

NHK reported that the first tsunami waves - some more than a metre tall - have hit the northern coast of central Japan and could keep returning - while the region was also rocked by a series of aftershocks.

A major tsunami warning was issued for Ishikawa, while lower-level tsunami warnings or advisories were issued for the rest of the western coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu.

Those in the Niigata and Toyama prefectures were also encouraged to evacuate as waves could reach up to 3m in height.

It comes after several quakes hit the Noto region - beginning with a 5.7 magnitude tremor at 16:06 local time.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, it was followed by a 7.6-magnitude quake and as many as five more tremors within an hour.

Footage on social media showed rapidly swelling rivers.

Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters that nuclear plants in the area had not reported any irregularities, but said it was critical for people in coastal areas to escape the path of the oncoming tsunami.

He said: "Every minute counts. Please evacuate to a safe area immediately."

Chilling footage shared to social media shows people running for cover in a bowling alley as an earthquake struck - with customers cramming underneath tables for safety.

Another shows a concerned motorist driving past a swollen river with rising waves, which was posted alongside the caption: "Tsunami is the scariest thing."

Warnings of waves up to 1m high were also issued for parts of North Korea and Russia - with the latter telling locals on the west coast of the island of Sakhalin that the water could spell trouble for them too.

People hid under tables in a bowling alley as an earthquake hit.

NHK TV footage showed a room in Japan that has been shaken by the quake, with hanging laundry swaying from side to side and a computer on a desk rattling.

It also reported that some electric poles were toppled and roads were cracked but reports of major damage were not immediately available.

Local media also claim that around 32,500 homes in Ishikawa have been left without power while many properties in the area have collapsed due to the quakes.

In 2011, Japan was rocked by a devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake which triggered a tsunami, killing more than 18,000, wiping towns out and causing a major meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Featured Image Credit: X

Topics: World News, Weather, Environment, Science