Images from Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan close to the epicentre,

A massive 7.5-magnitude earthquake has hit Taiwan, sparking fears of three-metre tall tsunami waves affecting Japan’s southern islands.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has issued a tsunami alert for the southern islands of the Far Eastern country following the tremor, which happened shortly before 9am Japanese local time (12am GMT, 1am UK time).

A post from the JMA’s disaster preparation account on X, formerly Twitter, has warned those in the affected areas not to leave designated safe zones until given the all clear.

A translation of the tweet read: ‘As of 09:01 on the 3rd, a tsunami warning has been issued. Tsunamis strike repeatedly. Do not leave your safe area until the warning has been lifted.’

The JMA says the Okinawa and Miyajokima and Yaeyama island groupings are at risk of tsunamis up to three metres (10feet) high.

Images from Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan close to the epicentre,

Images from Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan close to the epicentre, 

A webcam image from the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. The camera could be seen shaking violently as the 7.5 magnitude tremor set in

A webcam image from the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. The camera could be seen shaking violently as the 7.5 magnitude tremor set in

The quake struck shortly before 9am Japan time (12am GMT, 1am UK time) on Taiwan's eastern edge, south of the coastal city of Hualien

The quake struck shortly before 9am Japan time (12am GMT, 1am UK time) on Taiwan’s eastern edge, south of the coastal city of Hualien

Images from Hualien, a coastal city just 11 miles north of the epicentre of the quake, show collapsed buildings across the city

Images from Hualien, a coastal city just 11 miles north of the epicentre of the quake, show collapsed buildings across the city

Part of a building collapsed onto a series of parked motorcycles. It is not known if there are any casualties

Part of a building collapsed onto a series of parked motorcycles. It is not known if there are any casualties

A map issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) shows the epicentre of the earthquake off the coast of Taiwan (the ‘x’ symbol) as well as the islands most likely to be affected, highlighted in red

Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration agency said the quake could be felt across the island – measuring 7.2 at the epicentre and around four at its weakest on the furthest reaches away from the centre of the tectonic jolt.

Multiple videos were shared of damage to Hualien, a city on the east coast of Taiwan close to the epicentre of the quake. 

In several images, a large red glass-fronted tower block was seen to have partially collapsed, keeling over towards the ground and resting at an angle as shocked onlookers watched on.

Another video of webcam in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei showed the camera being juddered by the convulsions.

‘Evacuate!’ said a banner on national broadcaster NHK.

‘Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,’ an anchor on NHK said. ‘Do not stop. Do not go back.’

It is not known if there are any casualties. 

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4, with its epicentre 18 kilometres south of Taiwan’s Hualien City at a depth of 34.8 km.

This is a breaking story, more to follow.

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