TOKYO: A powerful earthquake that struck the Tokyo area on Thursday night, the strongest the Japanese capital has experienced in a decade, left 32 people injured and continued to disrupt train services on Friday morning, affecting about 368,000 passengers in total, reports Kyodo News.
The temblor left many late-night train passengers stranded and caused commuter disruption Friday morning, with services on shinkansen bullet train and 16 local train lines canceled or delayed from late night Thursday to around 3pm Friday, according to East Japan Railway Co.
At JR Kawaguchi Station in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, JR East imposed entrance restrictions to avoid congestion, leaving many people lining up in front of the station.
"It has been very crowded since the start of today's first train. The crowd spilled out of the station, while inside the ticket gates it was packed with people," said a 77-year-old woman store worker.
The operation of the Nippori Toneri Liner, a driverless guideway transit system in Tokyo, remained suspended Friday morning after a train derailed in the capital's Adachi Ward, one of the areas hit hardest by the quake. Three passengers on the liner fell and were injured after three cars derailed. Outside the liner's Nippori Station, many people formed long queues as they tried to catch taxis and buses on Friday morning.
The Tokyo metropolitan government's transportation bureau, the operator of the transit system, said it could take several days until services on the line resume. The Japan Transport Safety Board has dispatched officials to investigate the derailment.
Among the 32 people hurt, two in Saitama Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture sustained severe injuries, according to a tally by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
It was the first time people in central Tokyo have experienced such an intense shake since the massive quake of March 11, 2011, which devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.