Weekend quake biggest to hit Aichi since ’26

An earthquake that shook the Chubu, Kansai and Kanto regions on Mar. 16 was the strongest tremor to be recorded in eastern Aichi Prefecture since record-keeping began in 1926, according to Meteorological Agency officials.

Four people were injured in the strong-5 earthquake that was felt in 28 prefectures. No serious injuries were reported. Three minor tremors, believed to be aftershocks, were felt in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, later in the day.

“I’ve lived here since 1951, and it was the worst temblor I’ve ever experienced,” said 70-year-old Nobuyuki Asakura of Toyohashi. “After the initial vertical shaking, I looked outside. Pigeons were flying all over and darkened the sky.”

At a pachinko parlor in the city, goods fell from shelves, and a woman employee suffered a minor head injury. A woman in her 80s was taken to the hospital after she suffered a 1-cm-long gash to her head when a transom window fell from a Buddhist temple in Chiryu, Aichi Prefecture, during a memorial service she was attending, officials said. Fumio Tawada, 61, fell and broke his pelvic bone as he tried to flee through the front door of his home in Hirata, Gifu Prefecture, police said.

The earthquake shut down water supply to 5,600 houses in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, for 30 minutes after the automatic cutoff mechanism in the city’s emergency water supply monitoring system was triggered by the quake. Power supply to 2,000 families in Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture, went out for two minutes after the initial temblor.

Asked why the damage was lighter than is projected by the intensity scale, Hiroshi Yoshida of the agency said the intensity of the quake in Toyohashi was on the lighter end of those fitting the “5-strong” description.