Tsunami Alert Canceled After Big Quake Near Fukushima
Jiji Press, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

TOKYO — As a powerful temblor shook homes, cut out power and derailed a bullet train in northern Japan late on Wednesday night, the memories of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan 11 years ago quickly flooded back.

As of 4 a.m. on Thursday, NHK, the public broadcaster, reported one death in Minamisoma and at least 88 people injured across several prefectures.

“Another big earthquake again,” wrote one user on Twitter. “11 years ago, I watched an explosion at the Fukushima power plant on TV after the quake hit Fukushima.” Remembering the rush to evacuate parents who lived not far from the nuclear plant where three reactors melted down, the Twitter user wrote, “I recalled the horror of that day.”

Another person who recalled going without food or water after the March 11, 2011, earthquake offered some advice: “A disaster comes by the time we forget. Be careful, everyone.”

Aiko Sawada, a retired medical researcher, wrote on Twitter, “Another big earthquake in Tohoku. And so soon after the anniversary of 3.11. I pray that the damage stays minimal.”

A sense of protracted trauma permeated many social media comments soon after the quake on Wednesday.

“The moment the earthquake occurred, I was reminded of the Great East Japan Earthquake,” wrote another poster. “There aren’t many days when I feel safe. I am very concerned about the safety of people in the Fukushima and Miyagi areas. Please be careful of aftershocks.”

Anxiety about another nuclear accident was also a recurring theme.

“Every time an earthquake hits, I’m worried about nuclear plants,” read one post. “It’s very dangerous to build nuclear plants in Japan.”

Wednesday’s quake caused far less damage than the much larger one in 2011. The tsunami waves it set off were all small in scale, far lower than in 2011, when some waves reached more than 45 feet in height and more than 19,000 people died. More than 2,500 people are still considered missing.

Hikari Hida, Hisako Ueno, Makiko Inoue and Hiroko Tabuchi contributed reporting

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