Strong Earthquake Hits Northeastern Japan

Japan lifted tsunami advisories that were issued after a major earthquake struck the northeast of the country early Tuesday, injuring at least 14 people.

The magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred at 5:59 a.m., local time, off the coast of Fukushima prefecture. No deaths or major damage were reported, but transportation was disrupted and residents of low-lying areas were advised to evacuate. The quake was felt in Tokyo, about 150 miles away.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude 9 earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami in the region in 2011. It warned another large quake could strike in the coming days and urged residents to be cautious for about a week.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said the seriously injured included two women in their 80s and another in her 60s with broken bones, while Fukushima prefecture said an elderly woman was hit in the head by a cupboard and a man was wounded in the knee by glass shards while struggling with falling furniture, the Associated Press reported.

The Japan Meteorological Agency had issued a tsunami warning for Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, parts of which are still recovering from the 2011 quake and tsunami.

Live television showed vehicles moving away from coastal towns and villages, and ships and fishing vessels moving out to sea.

National broadcaster NHK issued evacuation advisories in Japanese, English and several other languages.

A tsunami wave measuring 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) was reported near the city of Sendai, in Fukushima prefecture, but no major damage was reported.  The weather agency earlier warned of waves of up to three meters (9.8 feet). The tsunami warning was reduced to a tsunami advisory later in the day before being lifted.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported that a tsunami wave of about 1 meter (3 feet) made landfall at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but that it caused no damage and  that there was no change in radiation levels at the facility. The plant suffered a partial meltdown when it was inundated by a 13-meter (42 feet) tsunami in 2011; the plant is being decommissioned, a process that is expected to take 30 to 40 years.

Power was lost briefly Tuesday in a cooling tank at the nearby Fukushima Dai-ni nuclear power plant, but was quickly restored, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Most nuclear power plants in Japan have been shut down since the 2011 disaster.

The airport in Sendai was temporarily closed and bullet train service was interrupted along several rails lines in the region early Tuesday.

The weather agency said the quake occurred off the coast of Fukushima, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). The quake measured a lower 5 on Japan’s intensity scale, the weather agency said.

Japan is one of the most seismically active regions of the world and earthquakes are not uncommon.  Nearly 16,000 people were killed and more than 2,500 remain missing from the magnitude 9.1 earthquake that struck Japan’s northeastern “Tohoku” region on March 11, 2011.

That quake generated a tsunami that reached heights of 133 feet and spread some six miles inland in some places.

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Source:http://www.dw.com/en/strong-earthquake-hits-northeastern-japan/a-36474007

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