On Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa and lower-level tsunami warnings or advisories for the rest of the western coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu, as well as for the northern island of Hokkaido.
The warning was downgraded several hours later, and all tsunami warnings were lifted as of early Tuesday. Waves measuring more than one meter (3 feet) hit some places.
The agency warned that more major quakes could hit the area over the next few days.
People who were evacuated from their houses huddled in auditoriums, schools and community centers. Bullet trains in the region were halted, but service was mostly restored by Tuesday afternoon. Sections of highways were closed.
Weather forecasters predicted rain, setting off worries about already crumbling buildings and infrastructure.
The region includes tourist spots famous for lacquerware and other traditional crafts, along with designated cultural heritage sites.
U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement that his administration was “ready to provide any necessary assistance for the Japanese people.”
Although casualty numbers continued to climb gradually, the prompt public warnings, relayed on broadcasts and phones, and the quick response from the general public and officials appeared to have limited some of the damage.
Toshitaka Katada, a University of Tokyo professor specializing in disasters, said people were prepared because the area had been hit by quakes in recent years. They had evacuation plans and emergency supplies in stock.
“There are probably no people on Earth who are as disaster-ready as the Japanese,” he told The Associated Press.
Japan is frequently hit by earthquakes because of its location along the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
Over the last day, the nation has experienced about a hundred aftershocks.