Magnitude 7.3 earthquake hits Japan's Fukushima prefecture, with a tsunami warning on its heels

Japan's previous earthquake, a magnitude 9.0, devastated its economy, including videogame exports. 

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The Associated Press reported a magnitude 7.3 earthquake off the coast of Japan's Fukushima prefecture.

In the wake of the earthquake, a tsunami warning for waves as big as three meters (or 10 feet) was issued. Residents are advised to evacuate Fukushima immediately.

The Shacknews staff sends its thoughts to Fukushima's residents as well as those who have family in the area.

Loss of life is the most tragic consequence of any natural disaster. On a smaller but important scale, the economic impact as a result of disasters has lasting effects that make it difficult for survivors to pick up the pieces. Following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Tohoku in 2011, Japan's economy ground to a halt. Video games, one of the country's biggest exports, were affected.

The 9.0-magnitude quake occurred off Japan's coast and kicked off tsunami waves up to 10 meters (33 feet) that ravaged Japan minutes after the quake died down. As a result of the disaster, stocks for companies including Nintendo, Square Enix, Sony, and Bandai Namco (then Namco Bandai) at the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped. Hardware and software shipments were delayed; games that showed scenes of devastation were cancelled so as to avoid controversy stemming from sensitive content.

Numerous publishers and developers threw themselves into relief efforts to help their peers in the east. Zynga raised $1.35 million within 36 hours of announcing that players who purchased in-game items for titles such as FarmVille would go toward relief.

NHK World is providing ongoing coverage of the disaster in Fukushima.

[Sources: Bloomberg, Associated Press Twitter]

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