A magnitude 7.4 earthquake with a depth of 57 to 60 kilometers struck northeast Japan on March 16, at 23:36 local time. The quake was too severe throughout other areas for anyone to stand while buildings in Tokyo shook. More than 2.2 million houses in 14 prefectures, including the Tokyo area, lost power for a brief period. According to the local electrical company, power had been restored to most areas by mid-morning. A bullet train north of Fukushima city derailed, but it was not moving quickly and no passengers were wounded. However, 78 passengers, including crew members, were stuck on board for four hours before being able to escape.

Authorities in the prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi, and Yamagata warned of possible aftershocks. Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, told reporters that the administration was still investigating the extent of any damage and that emergency services had received a flood of calls. On Thursday, the Meteorological Agency issued a public alert for more earthquake activity in the coming days. Masaki Nakamura, a representative from the agency, also warned locals about the risk of mudslides.