7.5-Magnitude Quake in Japan Leaves 2 Dead

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A strong earthquake struck northern Japan late Wednesday, killing at least two people and injuring 233.

Fears of tidal waves prompted coastal evacuation warnings after the 7.5-magnitude quake hit at 9:19 p.m., but the warnings were lifted 2 1/2 hours later.

The quake was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 390 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Two people were killed and eight injured when the second floor of a pachinko--a Japanese-style pinball parlor--collapsed in Hachinohe, a Pacific coast city of about 240,000 people 95 miles west of the epicenter.


Many people were cut by broken glass or struck by falling objects. Police said 179 of the injured were in Hachinohe. Most of the injuries were not serious, authorities said.

“The shaking was strong. I couldn’t stand. I saw many people squatting down on the street, and some ran away,” said Takashi Masaya, a Hachinohe official.

The Central Meteorological Agency reported a preliminary magnitude of 7.5. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., measured the quake at 7.4.

A total of 135 aftershocks were reported within nine hours after the quake, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2. It was not immediately known if they caused further damage or injury.

In Hachinohe, television news footage showed large cracks in the walls of a high school and concrete fragments scattered around.

Windows broke, furniture toppled and shattered bottles littered floors across the region. At least eight houses were damaged, and two landslides were reported, police said. Electricity was cut for a time in parts of Hachinohe.


In Tokyo, the quake was felt as a long, slow rumbling.