The impact of the earthquake is likely to be extensive, affecting transportation and communication, emphasizing the importance of preparedness.
Japan issued a tsunami warning along with urgent evacuation orders after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale shook the Ishikawa region on Monday.
Here are the latest updates and impact on travel:
- Japanese domestic airlines have canceled flights to and from airports in the affected regions. All Nippon Airways reported the cancellation of 15 flights, while Japan Airlines canceled nine.
- Additionally, Ishikawa’s Noto Airport is currently closed to traffic, exacerbating transportation disruptions in the affected areas.
- The East Japan Railway Company has suspended operations on parts of its Hokuriku and Joetsu Shinkansen services until at least Monday, with uncertainty regarding the resumption of services beyond Tuesday.
Inbound tourism in Japan has made a near-complete recovery to levels seen before the pandemic. The estimated number of international travelers to Japan in October 2023 was 2.5 million, exceeding the same month in 2019 for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).
The latest data from JNTO showed that from January to October, Japan received almost 20 million inbound tourists. In 2019, Japan had welcomed 31.8 million tourists to the country.
Coastal areas in Niigata, Toyama, and Ishikawa are under heightened alert, and residents have been urged to evacuate promptly. Officials are stressing the importance of moving to higher ground and putting as much distance as possible between themselves and the coast to minimize potential risks.
The Japan Meteorological Agency initially issued a “major tsunami warning” for Ishikawa Prefecture, but it has since been downgraded to a “tsunami warning.” However, caution is still advised, as the agency warns that tsunamis may repeatedly strike the coast and could potentially increase in height.
During an emergency press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa disclosed that certain sections of five expressways have been closed as a precautionary measure.
The chief cabinet secretary provided updates on the impact of the earthquake, revealing power outages in 33,000 households and disruptions in mobile phone communication services in Ishikawa and Niigata prefectures.
Four prominent telecom carriers, NTT Docomo, KDDI, Softbank, and Rakuten Mobile, have implemented a disaster message board system. This allows users to share their safety status through text messages on the internet. The posted information is accessible via smartphones, other mobile devices, and computers.