At least 43 people were injured and many commuters in the Tokyo region continued to experience train disruptions on Friday, a day after the capital was rocked by the strongest earthquake in a decade.
The magnitude-5.9 quake left many late-night train passengers stranded, with services on shinkansen bullet train and 16 local train lines canceled or delayed from late night Thursday to around 3 p.m. Friday, affecting about 368,000 people, according to East Japan Railway Co.
The operator, also known as JR East, resumed train services in the morning but many passengers were forced to wait at stations due to delays.
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 female worker at a station store.
The operation of the Nippori Toneri Liner, a driverless guideway transit system in Tokyo, remained suspended Friday after a train derailed in the capital's Adachi Ward, one of the areas hit hardest by the quake.
The temblor, which struck the capital region at 10:41 p.m. Thursday, logged upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture.
It was the first time people in central Tokyo had experienced such intense shaking since the massive quake of March 11, 2011, which devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.
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 before services resume. The Japan Transport Safety Board has dispatched officials to investigate Thursday's derailment.
Among the 43 people hurt in Tokyo and four neighboring prefectures, two each in Saitama and Chiba sustained severe injuries, according to a tally by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
A 28-year-old man from Saitama Prefecture who was forced to stay overnight at Yokohama Station when trains were canceled said wearily on Friday morning, "I have to go to work now without having gone home."
At JR Chiba Station, trains heading to Tokyo were delayed significantly Friday morning, causing a male commuter in his 50s to give up. "I'll just switch to telework (today)," he said as he walked out of the station.
The quake also caused power outages, affecting about 250 houses in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward at one point, while water stoppages and leaks were reported in central Tokyo.
There were 28 cases of people being trapped in elevators in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures but all had been resolved, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said Friday.
Several hundred passengers were forced to evacuate by escape ladder from a train on the JR Tokaido Line in the early hours of Friday, after being stranded on the stopped train for more than two hours, according to a Kyodo News reporter who was at the scene.