Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets "Tor" network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Teen slammed for taking smiling selfie at Auschwitz

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Strong earthquake hits tsunami-ravaged northeast

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-07

A powerful earthquake shook Japan's northeastern region Thursday, prompting fears of a tsunami which subsequently proved unfounded. The same area was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in March of this year.

AFP - A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake late on Thursday hit the same area of Japan that was ravaged by disaster a month ago, seismologists said, prompting a local tsunami alert that was later cancelled.

Power was cut to parts of the northeast of the country, much of which is still struggling with the effects of the monster tsunami that roared ashore four weeks ago.

The new quake caused a handful of injuries, national broadcaster NHK said, but there were no reported deaths.

Workers battling to control the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the northeast coast were temporarily ordered to evacuate, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said.

The evacuation order came less than 24 hours after they began pumping nitrogen into reactor No. 1, where engineers were concerned a build-up of hydrogen react with oxygen to cause an explosion.

A company spokesman later said that work at the plant was nonetheless continuing with no problem.

A TEPCO spokesman told a press conference that there was "no information immediately indicating any abnormality at Fukushima Daiichi plant."

The tremor hit at 11:32 pm local time (1432 GMT) with an offshore epicentre 66 kilometres (40 miles) east of Sendai, a city severely impacted by the March 11 quake and tsunami, according to the US Geological Survey.

Japan's weather bureau promptly issued a tsunami alert for the Pacific coast, saying that waves of up to two metres (six feet) could hit the shoreline, but the alert was cancelled 83 minutes after the quake.

In a statement on its website the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had said earlier it did not expect an ocean-wide tsunami.

Footage from broadcaster NHK showed that power was off in parts of Sendai, a regional commercial hub shaken by the March 11 quake.

The broadcaster said gas and water leaks were being reported in some areas of the city.

Jiji Press news agency said that shortly after midnight there were five fires and 13 gas leaks in Sendai city, according to the Miyagi prefectural office.

In Iwate prefecture, local authorities ordered some 500 households to evacuate, NHK said. The broadcaster also reported three fires in Iwate and Miyage prefectures.

An AFP photographer in Kitakami city in Iwate reported that power had gone off following Thursday's quake.

The quake had a depth of 49 kilometres, the USGS said. Although the epicentre was 330 kilometres (205 miles) from Tokyo, it shook buildings in the Japanese capital.

A Meteorological Agency official told a televised news conference: "We have determined this was an aftershock of the (March 11) earthquake."

The quake came as workers at the Fukushima plant were battling round the clock to prevent a possible explosion, but the tremor appeared not to have impacted the work.

Early Thursday morning workers at the Fukushima plant began pumping in nitrogen, an inert gas, which they hope will dilute the concentration of both hydrogen and oxygen inside the reactor casing.

The process to inject 6,000 cubic metres (210,000 cubic feet) was expected to take around six days, TEPCO said.

"We haven't noticed any problem in parameters with regard to the injection of nitrogen," a nuclear safety official said after the late-night earthquake.

Earlier, chief government spokesman Yukio Edano indicated Tokyo was considering widening the 20-kilometre (12-mile) evacuation zone around the stricken plant, a week after a UN nuclear watchdog said it should be increased.

"The existing safety standards for local residents are that an evacuation order is issued if there is a possibility that they might receive radiation 50 millisieverts or above," he said.

"The standard assumed that a high level of radiation is emitted temporarily. We are discussing how best to issue evacuation orders based on data and standards for accumulative radiation," Edano said.

Around 3,400 people are unaccounted for along the 40-kilometre stretch of coast covered by the exclusion zone and on Thursday, around 300 police began searching for bodies in the the outer 10-kilometre band of the zone.

Television pictures showed officers in full body suits entering the area, while a police spokesman said all officers were armed with radiation meters.

The Bank of Japan on Thursday warned of pressures as a result of the triple disaster and bolstered funding for quake-hit areas, unveiling a 1.0 trillion yen ($11.7 billion) scheme to keep banks in affected areas liquid.

The BoJ also downgraded its view of the economy due to last month's disasters.
 

Date created : 2011-04-07

  • JAPAN

    Fukushima plugs radiation leak but faces new threats

    Read more

  • MARKETS

    Japan’s stock market still struggling despite gains

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Despite UN recommendation, Japan will not widen evacuation zone

    Read more

COMMENT(S)