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Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

© AFP archive | Police officers on the northeast coast, near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2013.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-12

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit off eastern Japan on Saturday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, sparking a minor tsunami of up to 20 cm but causing no damage along the coast that was ravaged by the catastrophic March 2011 tsunami.

No irregularities were reported at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was damaged in the 2011 disaster in the worst nuclear accident since Ukraine’s Chernobyl in 1986.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Daiichi plant, instructed plant workers on night duty along the coast to retreat to higher grounds.

The quake registered a moderate 4 on the Japanese seismic scale of 1-7, meaning that major damage was unlikely. A 20-centimetre (8-inch) tsunami reached the coast of Ishinomaki Ayukawa and Ofunato, about 50 minutes after the quake. Smaller waves were observed at several other locations along the coast.

Changes to the shoreline were not visible on television footages of NHK public broadcaster.

Evacuation orders were issued in several coastal towns in the area, where 19,000 perished in the March 11 disaster three years ago, but those orders were cancelled shortly after the tsunami advisory was lifted, according to the agency.

In Fukushima, a 68-year-old woman fell down the stairs and broke her leg, according to the prefectural police.

A meteorological agency official told a televised news conference that Saturday’s quake appeared to be an aftershock of the massive magnitude-9 earthquake of 2011.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

Date created : 2014-07-12

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