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Japan lifts tsunami alert, Okinawa flights resume

Updated: 2024-04-04 08:11

Fukuoka Airport is crowded with passengers following a tsunami warning on Wednesday. THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/AP IMAGES

TOKYO — Japan's weather agency on Wednesday lifted a tsunami advisory issued for islands of the southern Okinawa prefecture, with the prefecture's main Naha Airport resuming operations.

Operations at Naha Airport were resumed after the tsunami advisory was lifted, its operator said. The airport is located on the coast of the main island of the prefecture.

Flights at the airport were suspended earlier following the issuance of a tsunami warning, which affected about 2,630 passengers in total.

The Japan Meteorological Agency initially projected a tsunami with waves of up to 3 meters in the region but later downgraded the tsunami warning to an advisory.

A 30-centimeter tsunami was observed at the island of Yonaguni at 9:18 am local time, while small waves of 20 centimeters also reached Ishigaki and Miyakojima islands, according to the JMA.

Weather officials still urged people to remain cautious as the tide level could change.

This was the first time the JMA issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas of Okinawa since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

The tsunami warning was issued after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake jolted the sea area near Hualien in Taiwan earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, the Philippines also canceled a tsunami warning in the country's north on Wednesday.

Evacuation orders were issued for coastal areas in the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Isabela.

However, few people in the lightly populated northern regions appear to have responded to the orders, and the tsunami warning was lifted after a couple of hours.

"Based on available data of our sea level monitoring stations facing the epicentral area, no significant sea level disturbances have been recorded since 7:58 am up until this cancellation," the state seismology agency said in an advisory.

The agency had initially warned of "high tsunami waves" based on wave models.




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