Rescue operations are ongoing, and officials suggest that the current tally of affected individuals may increase.
A seismic event of magnitude 7.6 occurred on Monday near the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, leading to Japan’s first significant tsunami warning since the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that claimed approximately 18,500 lives in the northeast region.
Prime Minister Kishida, addressing the situation on Tuesday, reported extensive damage, including collapsed buildings and fires sparked by the quake.
The number of casualties is substantial, and there is an urgent race against time to save victims.
The rescue efforts are being impeded by damaged roads, making it challenging to gauge the complete scope of the aftermath.
Despite the initial tsunami warning being downgraded, authorities are grappling with hindrances in their assessment due to the widespread destruction.
In Suzu, a coastal town near the epicenter with over 5,000 households, Mayor Masuhiro Izumiya estimates that up to 1,000 houses may have been destroyed.
“The situation is catastrophic,” he said.