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Advance warning fails as earthquake rattles Miyako

Date Posted: 2008-05-02

It was only seconds after the first tremor that the Meteorological Agency’s seismic sensors triggered an alert, but officials are calling it a failure, nonetheless.

The agency’s new system, introduced last October, was supposed to have provided a few seconds advance notice when a quake hits, as in Monday’s 5.2 magnitude tremor did on Miyako Island. Officials report no injuries in the 2:32 a.m. quake, and no tsunami warning was aired.

The Meteorological Agency had expected an earthquake to strike, and had issued a prediction it would be below five on the Japanese measuring scale. A warning is to be sounded when a quake hits five, indicating how strong the quake is expected to be before it hits an area.

The same thing happened in January, when an earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture struck in the lower 5 range, but no warning was issued. Again, Meteorological Agency officials said the system had predicted the earthquake would be a not so severe level 4, so the automated system did not trigger an alert.

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