March 09, 2011

Earthquake Hits Japan

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan this afternoon has triggered a small tsunami, but with no reports of damage.

The quake hit at 1.54pm about 169 kilometres off the city of Sendai in northern Japan at a depth of 14 kilometres.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning of up to 50 centimetres for the east coast of the main Honshu island.

A 60-centimetre wave was first reported at Ofunato port half an hour after the quake without causing any damage.

"We have confirmed that small tsunami have come up on the shores, but we have no reports of damage at this point," said Shinobu Nagano, an emergency and disaster response official in Iwate prefecture.

"We are still trying to determine the impact of the quake."

Yoshiyuki Sato, an official at Kurihara City in Miyagi prefecture, about 300 kilometres north-east of Tokyo, told Reuters: "First I felt a jolt that pushed from underneath, then a big sideways tremor that lasted for about 20 seconds.

"The tremor was relatively big but things did not fall off the shelves in the city government building."

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