After quake, Japanese govt warns of tsunami in coastal areas

Tokyo: Following a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 that shook eastern and northeastern Japan on Saturday, the Japanese government warned that a tsunami of up to 1 metre could hit coastal areas of Miyagi Prefecture. 

According to Kyodo News, the earthquake occurred at 6:09 p.m. about 59 kilometers below the surface off the coast of Miyagi, and the agency called off the tsunami warning at 7:30 p.m, the Japan Meteorological agency stated.

Two injuries have been reported in Miyagi Prefecture with no structural damage yet, according to a local fire department.

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The strength and the depth of the temblor were revised downward from the initially reported magnitude 7.2 and 60 km, respectively.

The agency official said at a press conference that no significant change in the sea level caused by the quake was observed but warned that quakes of a similar size could occur over the next week or so.

Its focus, about 20 km off the Ojika Peninsula in Miyagi, was relatively close to that of the magnitude of 7.3 temblors in mid-February which rocked Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and injured over 150 people, he added.

The earthquake struck just over a week after northeastern Japan marked the 10th anniversary of the devastating quake and tsunami which triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

No abnormalities were found at nuclear plants in eastern and northeastern Japan, according to their operators, while JR East said it temporarily suspended the operation of Shinkansen bullet train services in the region, Kyodo News reported.

There have also been evacuation orders issued to some 11,000 residents in coastal areas in Miyagi which were lifted later, according to the prefectural government.

Shinji Toda, professor of geophysics at Tohoku University, said the latest earthquake could have caused a large tsunami if its focus had been shallow.

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