The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.5, USGS said.
TOKYO and LONDON — Japanese officials issued tsunami and evacuation warnings after a powerful earthquake struck the west coast on Monday afternoon.
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 struck at about 4:10 p.m. local time, with its epicenter on the Noto Peninsula, along the Sea of Japan, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said it measured the quake at a preliminary magnitude at 7.6, adding there had also been more than a dozen smaller ones, including aftershocks.
Japanese officials had issued a major tsunami warning for the peninsula and surrounding Ishikawa Prefecture before downgrading it about five hours later to a tsunami warning. The lesser warning said waves could be expected high as 3 meters, or about 10 feet, near the epicenter, down from 5 meters, or about 16 feet.
Authorities were urgently directing the population to move to higher ground. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office issued a statement telling residents nearby to evacuate immediately. People were being urged not to go to the coast and to stay away from waterways.
Outside of the major tsunami warning area, a tsunami advisory has been issued for the entire Sea of Japan side of the main island of Honshu and Western Hokkaido island.
Monday’s warning is the first time a major tsunami warning has been issued since 2011, when a 9.0-magnitude quake struck Tohoku, causing disastrous and deadly tsunami waves.
Initial tsunami waves had begun striking land on Monday evening, with some reportedly reaching about 1.2 meters along the Noto Peninsula and the surrounding Ishikawa and Niigata prefectures. Tsunami waves were reported as far north as Hokkaido Prefecture.