Aftershocks Hit Japan a Day After Quake

The Associated Press
Monday, March 26, 2007; 12:33 AM

KANAZAWA, Japan -- Aftershocks shook a rural area of coastal central Japan Monday, a day after a powerful earthquake killed at least one person and injured 193 others as it toppled buildings, triggered landslides and generated a small tsunami along the coast.

One of the aftershocks had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and struck at 7:19 a.m. Monday. Japan's Meteorological Agency said there was no tsunami danger. The agency warned that strong aftershocks could continue for a week.

"A fairly big aftershock hit just minutes ago and I jumped out the door," said Tomio Maeda, manager of a convenience store in Anamizu town. "It's scary, I guess it's not over yet."

Sunday's magnitude-6.9 quake struck off the north coast of Ishikawa, the Meteorological Agency said. The agency issued a tsunami warning urging people near the sea to move to higher land.

A small tsunami measuring 6 inches hit the shore 36 minutes later, the agency said.

The morning quake toppled buildings, triggered landslides, cut power, interfered with phone service, broke water mains and snarled public transportation. At least one person was killed and 193 others were hurt along the country's Sea of Japan coast, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

On Monday, officials deemed Japan's new earthquake early alert system a success. The system, which allows for faster warnings of possible tsunamis, is more sensitive than the old one and can detect slight tremors that travel underground ahead of the larger quake.

"Before the new system went into effect, it took about three minutes to get out a tsunami alert. On Sunday, we were able to get the alert out within a minute, so I'd say it was a success," said Meteorological Agency official Yosuke Igarashi.

Television footage of Sunday's quake showed buildings shaking violently for about 30 seconds. Other shots showed collapsed buildings and shops with shattered windows, streets cluttered with roof tiles and roads with cracked pavement.

"We felt violent shaking. My colleagues say the insides of their houses are a mess, with everything smashed on the floor," Wataru Matsumoto, deputy mayor of the town of Anamizu, near the epicenter, told NHK.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary upper house committee Monday that the quake also had knocked down at least 68 homes throughout the region and left another 164 partially destroyed.

"The government will make every effort to help the victims of the earthquake so they can resume normal lives," Abe said.

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