As an update, there are already a of of foreign news media picking up on the earthquakes here in Japan tonight – Reuters, VOA and ITV.com.
Local news here (pretty much all the terrestrial channels) are showing pictures of damages homes and roads in rural Niigata, and it does look pretty bad, and sadly several people have been killed. It’s been a bad month in Japan for natural disasters, after 68 people were killed by typhoon Takage a few days ago.
In context, the first earthquake measured 6.8 on the Richter scale in Niigata , with aftershocks going up to 6.3 The earthquake in Kobe in 1995 measured about 7.2.
The waves hit Tokyo about 5 minutes after each quake and with a force of about 4, they still managed to sway buildings. I’m only on the second floor but even our apartment moved quite a bit. Ironically, I arrived home just a couple of minutes after the first quake was on the TV, and so my partner asked if I’d felt the quake on the way home, so of course, my answer was ‘What quake?’. Then, literally the shock-wave hit the apartment. Very surreal.