All flights suspended at Okinawa Naha Airport as Japan and Taiwan experience back-to-back earthquakes

Okinawa Naha Airport

3rd April 2024 – (Okinawa) Following a series of successive earthquakes in Japan and Taiwan, apprehension mounts regarding the situation in Okinawa, Japan.

As a precautionary measure, all flights at Okinawa Naha Airport have been temporarily suspended. Additionally, authorities are issuing warnings for residents and visitors to swiftly evacuate coastal areas and seek higher ground.

Due to its proximity to the coast, Naha Airport witnessed a significant influx of people seeking refuge on the third floor following the issuance of a tsunami warning by authorities. Simultaneously, incoming flights were temporarily suspended, and some flights were redirected to Kagoshima and Miyazaki airports. Narita Airport reported that three departing flights were forced to return.

At 10.30am local time, the local government conveyed evacuation messages such as the “L-alert” to broadcasting stations, indicating an urgent need for safety measures in the low-lying areas of Motobu Town and along the coastline near the village of Ginowan.

NHK reports that a tsunami, reaching heights of up to 3 meters, is expected to hit the southwestern coast of Okinawa around 1am Greenwich Mean Time. Another tsunami, measuring 0.3 meters, will impact the southwest region of Japan and the island of Naha.

The Japan Meteorological Agency initially reported the earthquake as a magnitude 7.5, which was later revised to 7.7. As a result, tsunami warnings have been issued for the main island of Okinawa, the Miyako-Yaeyama region, and Naha Island, where a 30-centimeter high tsunami was recorded around 9.18am local time.

According to NHK, authorities have issued evacuation orders for the following areas:

  • The entire village of Ginowan
  • Coastal areas and riverside regions of Chatan Town
  • Eastern part of Okinawa City (14,645 households, 32,881 people)
  • Coastal regions of Imagusuku Village
  • Entirety of Kitanakagusuku Village
  • Entirety of Nakagusuku Village
  • Coastal areas of Kunigami Village (151 households, 224 people)
  • Yomitan Town
  • Entirety of Izena Village (495 households, 877 people)
  • Entirety of Chatan Town
  • Coastal areas of Uruma City
  • Entirety of Nishihara Town
  • Entirety of Nago City
  • Entirety of Taketomi Town
  • Coastal areas near Kin Town
  • Entirety of Urasoe City
  • Entirety of Kunigami Village
  • Coastal regions of Kisarazu City (18,304 households, 40,567 people)
  • Entirety of Onna Village
  • Entirety of Ogimi Village
  • Entirety of Tokashiki Village (391 households, 645 people)
  • Tsunami disaster alert zone in Ginowan City
  • Coastal areas of Yomitan Village (8,410 households, 20,000 people)
  • Nanchō City (19,830 households, 46,488 people)

Local authorities are urging residents and visitors to quickly evacuate coastal areas and riverbanks and seek higher ground.

The Japan Coast Guard has issued evacuation advisories for ports such as Ishigaki Port. The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters established a headquarters response team at 9.01am. Evacuation advisories have been issued for Ishigaki Port, Hirara Port, Naha Port, Kin-Chanbaru Port, and Unten-Tomari Port.

Furthermore, over 400 residents in the vicinity have sought refuge at the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters located within the Naha Port Bay Convention Hall.