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Ishikawa Prefecture Quake Fatalities Reach 180, Search Continues for 120 Missing

2 months ago
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One week after a colossal 7.6 magnitude earthquake rocked Ishikawa Prefecture and surrounding areas in central Japan, the true scale of the devastation is still coming into focus.

The powerful tremors ruptured the earth on New Year's Day, unleashing forces that will forever alter the region. According to local authorities, the death toll has reached 180 as of Tuesday, with another 120 individuals still missing and unaccounted for.

The epicentre was located offshore, centred under the seabed along the subduction zone where tectonic plates collide below the Japan Trench. But tremors reverberated inland across Ishikawa Prefecture.

The major port city of Wajima, home to over 40,000 residents, bore the brunt of the damage.

Centred in the seismically active Hokuriku region along the Sea of Japan coast, Wajima contains many traditional wooden buildings constructed in the historic Edo architectural style. The violent shaking demolished hundreds of these fragile structures, levelling rows of houses and storefronts across the city.

Among the hardest hit areas was the renowned 1,000-year-old Wajima Asa-Ichi morning market located near the harbor.

This lively marketplace filled with small shops offering fresh seafood, locally harvested produce, traditional crafts and prepared foods represented the economic and cultural heart of Wajima.

Generations of residents shopped at its stalls daily, and tourists flocked to experience a piece of living history. But the earthquake left only rubble where the bustling Asa-ichi once stood.

Around 200 vendors operated there, drawn by the charm of its narrow lanes flanked by traditional buildings. The disaster reduced their livelihoods to splintered timber and shattered tile.


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