Tsunami warnings, advisories issued for wide area in Japan

Japan Meteorology Agency via AP
This image taken by a Japanese weather satellite shows an undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga on Saturday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for the Amami and Tokara islands in Kagoshima Prefecture and for Iwate Prefecture early Sunday, following a massive underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga.

A tsunami advisory was also issued for the Pacific coast of the Japanese archipelago, but it was lifted at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

According to the agency, the eruption occurred on the seabed of the South Pacific island country at about 1:10 p.m. on Saturday, apparently triggering the tsunami. The agency issued a tsunami warning for the Kagoshima islands at 12:15 a.m. Sunday, but changed it to an advisory at 7:30 a.m.

A tsunami advisory initially issued for Iwate Prefecture was raised to a warning at about 2:54 a.m., but this was returned to an advisory at 11:20 a.m. Tsunami as high as 3 meters were predicted to reach the prefecture, and at 2:26 a.m., a 1.1-meter tsunami was observed at Kuji Port.

Additional tsunami warnings were issued at 4:07 a.m. for the Sea of Japan side of Aomori Prefecture, the western parts of Nagasaki and Kagoshima prefectures.

Tsunami reached various locations in Japan, with waves 1.2 meters high observed in the Kominato area in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, and 90 centimeters high at Kuji Port, Tosashimizu in Kochi Prefecture and other locations.

Tsunami up to 3 meters high were also predicted to reach the Amami and Tokara islands. The agency called for people to evacuate to safe locations until the warnings were lifted, as multiple tsunami could arrive.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, a minimum of about 229,200 people belonging to about 108,000 households were instructed to evacuate in 55 municipalities in Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Chiba, Tokushima, Kochi, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures as of 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.

In Okinawa Prefecture, one person was slightly injured due to a fall as they were evacuating.

Fishing boats were overturned at several ports in Kochi Prefecture due to tsunami.

According to the Kochi Coast Guard, three moored fishing boats were submerged at Sakihama Port in Muroto. Other boats were also capsized at ports in the Kochi towns of Shimanto and Toyo.

Exam canceled in Iwate city

The National Center for University Entrance Examinations said the second day of the unified university entrance exam was canceled at Iwate Prefectural University’s Miyako Junior College in Miyako on Sunday due to an evacuation instruction issued for the area after the tsunami.

A total of 195 people were supposed to take the two-day test at the venue. They will be able to take a re-test on Jan. 30.

This is the second time in which the unified university entrance exam has been canceled, following last year’s cancellation at Wakkanai Hokusei Gakuen University in Wakkanai, Hokkaido, due to heavy snow. As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the exam was to be held as scheduled at 676 other venues.