A magnitude 6.0 earthquake off central Japan caused strong shaking but no tsunami warning has been given yet, the government said as per news agency AFP. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that the earthquake struck off the Sea of Japan coast, rattling the same part of the country where a powerful earthquake flattened parts of central Japan on January 1. Its aftershocks caused widespread destruction with the death toll surpassing 200 with just over 100 still unaccounted for, authorities said. The 7.5 magnitude quake on New Year destroyed buildings, caused fires and knocked out infrastructure on the Noto Peninsula.
Rescuers are still battling against time to clear the wreckage as well as reach almost 3,500 people still stuck in isolated communities, authorities have said as data from Ishikawa showed that 202 people were confirmed dead, up from 180 earlier in the day, with 102 unaccounted for, down from 120.
More than 1,200 aftershocks have rattled the area since as the number of missing has more than tripled the number to 323 with most of the rise related to badly hit Wajima.
Heavy snow has complicated relief efforts as almost 30,000 people were living in 400 government shelters while almost 60,000 households were without running water and 15,600 had no electricity supply.
Japan prime minister Fumio Kishida instructed ministers to “make efforts of resolving the state of isolation (of communities) and continue tenacious rescue activities” at a daily disaster-relief government meeting. He also urged secondary evacuations to other regions outside the earthquake-hit area.