Reuters, TOKYO, JAPAN
( From the files of CNN )
According to the National Meteorological Agency, a powerful earthquake that struck Japan on Saturday was the aftermath of the devastating 9.0 magnitude quake that struck the same area almost 10 years ago.
The magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit the east coast of the country at 11:07 p.m. From Saturday. According to state broadcaster NHK, at least 48 injuries have been reported in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, but no major casualties have occurred.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter struck about 46 miles (74 kilometers) north-east of Namie, a coastal town 60 miles from Fukushima. The earthquake measured a depth of about 36 miles. There was no tsunami warning issued.
The earthquake that caused the country's worst nuclear disaster on record on Saturday took place in the same area as the March 11, 2011 earthquake, when three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the air.
In the 2011 quake and tsunami, more than 20,000 people died or went missing, while hundreds of thousands more lost their homes. More than 100,000 individuals have been evacuated from the area.
Authorities have been cleaning up the area for the past ten years—a massive effort that experts say will take a few more decades to complete.
Despite these ongoing efforts, the torch relay is scheduled to start its journey in Fukushima on March 25, 2021 — a symbol of recovery and reconstruction in the area — when Japan hosts the Olympics this year.
The Olympic Committee said on its website, "As 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will aim to showcase the recovery of the areas worst affected by the disaster,"
Nevertheless, Saturday's earthquake is a reminder that the events of 2011 are not completely behind the region of Fukushima.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reassured the public early on Sunday morning that "no abnormalities" were reported at any of the region's nuclear plants after the Saturday earthquake.
Speaking to reporters, Suga said the damage is still being evaluated and asked residents to stay indoors and be prepared for aftershocks in the affected area.
Landslides and uprooted sections of a major expressway were caused by the earthquake, affecting both prefectures. As NHK reported, embankments along the road collapsed, covering the road and burying guardrails in the mud.
In the Kanto and Tohoku regions, which include Greater Tokyo, about 850,000 households lost power after the quake, NHK reported. Power is now being restored gradually.
The time of the earthquake was incorrectly stated in an earlier version of this story. It occurred at 11:07 p.m. Hey, local time.