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Strong aftershock rattles Japan’s northeastern coast

A 7.4-magnitude aftershock struck northeast Japan on Thursday, only one month after a major earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country’s northeastern coast.

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Japan was shaken by a 7.4-magnitude aftershock Thursday night only a month after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country’s northeastern coast.

The new aftershock was the strongest since March 11, when the initial 9.0-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami hit, killing some 25,000 people, destroying thousands of homes, and provoking a crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

There were no immediate reports of damage and injuries from Thursday’s aftershock, and authorities at the Fukushima nuclear plant reported no new problems. Workers at the plant were evacuated when the aftershock struck.

A tsunami warning sent out by the Japan meteorological agency was later cancelled.

The aftershock Thursday struck at 11:32 pm local time, hitting 50 kilometres under the water and off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture and rattling buildings in Ichinoseki – located inland from Japan’s northeastern coast. The quake was felt as far as Tokyo, where FRANCE 24 correspondent Marie Linton said that residents of the city were “completely taken by surprise”.

Thursday’s aftershock struck at approximately the same depth as the March 11 quake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS said the aftershock hit off the eastern coast, 65 kilometres from Sendai,115 kilometres from Fukushima, and 330 kilometres from Tokyo.

An oceanwide tsunami in the wake of the aftershock was deemed unlikely by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, though it specified that localised destructive waves were possible.

According to Vincent Courtillot of the Institute of Earth Physics of Paris, the aftershock on Thursday, “though not at all negligible, will probably be without dramatic consequences”.
 

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