Magnitude 7.4 earthquake hits Japan, evacuations ordered

TOKYO -

Residents were ordered to evacuate after a strong earthquake struck Japan’s northeast coast early Tuesday.

The magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred at 5:59 a.m., local time, off the coast of Fukushima prefecture. It caused minor damage and injuries and rocked buildings in Tokyo, about 150 miles away.

A tsunami measuring 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) was reported near Sendai and officials issued a warning. The tsunami alert was later lifted, but the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a warning for additional waves of up to three meters (10 feet) in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, parts of which have still not recovered fully from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck in 2011.

Coastal residents were ordered to move to higher ground on Tuesday. Live television showed vehicles moving away from coastal regions at high speeds, and ships and fishing vessels moving out to sea.

No damage or abnormalities were reported at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which suffered a partial meltdown in 2011. Power was lost briefly Tuesday at the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, but was quickly restored, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company.

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

The weather agency placed the epicenter of the quake at 10 kilometers underground, off the coast of Fukushima. The quake measured a lower 5 on Japan’s intensity scale, the weather agency said.

Service was temporarily interrupted on some high-speed “bullet” trains in the region.

Japan is one of the most seismically active regions of the world and earthquakes are fairly common.  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” on March 11, 2011, disaster.

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

USA Today


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