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Natural disasters

NIKKEI Film: How people survived an earthquake in Japan

Examining the Noto tsunami through location data and personal accounts

KANAZAWA, Japan -- “If a big earthquake comes, hurry up and get to higher ground!”

On the evening of New Year's Day, 2024, a massive earthquake measuring about 7 on the Japanese seismic scale struck the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. Almost immediately after the quake, a 5-meter high tsunami struck coastal areas. How did people manage to escape when the time between the quake and the tsunami was so much shorter than it had been in the case of another seismic disaster in March 2011?

Through interviews with approximately 30 residents and analysis of data on human movements in the affected areas, it became clear that people began evacuating twice as quickly compared to 2011.

Earthquakes and tremors are frequent occurrences all over Japan. In April, another M7.7 earthquake centered near Taiwan triggered a tsunami warning for Japan's Okinawa Island.

Why were people so quick to evacuate? What should people do to protect themselves and their loved ones next time? Nikkei spoke with locals and analyzed data to find out.

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