Many injured when a predawn M5.2 earthquake struck the Tokyo Bay area

An earthquake with an initial magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale jolted areas around Tokyo Bay early Thursday morning, including Chiba Prefecture and downtown Tokyo, injuring several people, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency and local authorities.

The 4:16 a.m. earthquake registered 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Kisarazu and 5 lower in Kimetsu, both in Chiba Prefecture, and 4 in areas including the Chiyoda and Shinagawa wards of Tokyo, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. No tsunami warning was issued.

Roof tiles are scattered on the ground in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, after an earthquake occurred before dawn on May 11, 2023 (Kyodo)

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency

The agency defines a Level 5 upper as a situation in which many people find it difficult to walk. It was the first time since March 2012 that Chiba Prefecture was hit by a magnitude 5 earthquake, according to the agency.

In Kisarazu, roof tiles were removed from three homes and scattered on the ground, while buildings’ windows cracked due to the shaking.

Two women in their 70s sustained minor injuries in Chiba Prefecture. Two more people were injured in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, where a woman fell in her home and a man was hit on the head by a light that fell from a shelf while he was sleeping. There were no immediate reports of casualties in Tokyo.

Hitachi Building Systems, a major building facilities management company, said about 3,000 elevators in Tokyo and surrounding areas, including Chiba Prefecture, had stopped but no one was trapped inside. The work to get the elevators back up and running was nearly complete by 11am

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Many elevators stop automatically after an earthquake is detected. Elevators in high-rise residential buildings have been affected mainly, according to Elevator Systems Co.

Most train lines were operating normally from their first services and there was not much interruption for commuters in the morning.

The JMA warned that earthquakes of magnitude 5 may occur for about a week.

On Thursday, the earthquake measured 4.0 in Mihama Ward in Chiba City and some wards in Yokohama and Kawasaki, both south of Tokyo.

It originated in southern Chiba Prefecture at a depth of about 40 kilometers. The agency initially reported a strength of 5.4 but later revised it to a 5.2.

A cracked chart of train fares is pictured at JR Kisarazu Station, Chiba Prefecture, after a predawn earthquake on May 11, 2023 (Kyodo)

A train suspension announcement is displayed at JR Kisarazu Station, Chiba Prefecture, after an earthquake occurred before dawn on May 11, 2023 (Kyodo)

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