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Japan hit by minor tsunami waves after earthquake

March 20, 2021

Waves of up to 1 meter have hit parts of Japan's coast following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake near Miyagi prefecture.

People sit on the floor at a station as train services are suspended following an earthquake in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture
Not long ago, Japan marked 10 years since the deadly 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunamiImage: Kyodo/REUTERS

Authorities issued a tsunami warning for Japan on Saturday after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Miyagi prefecture.

Tsunami waves of up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) hit land shortly after the earthquake, local television channel NHK reported.

As a precaution, nearly 7,000 residents of the town of Watari were evacuated.

Officials said that there were no immediate reports of major damage. However, two elderly women were injured.

At least 200 households were left without electricity and local rail services were suspended.

About an hour after the quake, the tsunami alerts were lifted, broadcaster NHK said.

However, the public was warned not to go near the shore.

Map showing the location of the earthquake and the tsunami advisory areas
The earthquake hit offshore from Miyagi prefecture

Precautionary measures taken

Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA) said that the quake hit at 6:09 p.m. local time (09:09 GMT/UTC) at a depth of 60 kilometers (37 miles) in the Pacific water just off the coast of Miyagi prefecture.

A video shared by NHK showed how the earthquake was felt in Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture.

Tremors were also felt in the capital, Tokyo.

The Tohoku Electric Power Co reportedly shut down its Onagawa nuclear plant as it checked for any irregularities, while the Tokyo Electric Power checked on the condition of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station, which was wrecked by the 2011 quake.

There were no reports of irregularities, the country's nuclear regulator told Reuters in an email.

Several train services in the region were also suspended as a precautionary measure.

The US Consulate in Sapporo told people in the area to "seek higher ground."

Pacific 'Ring of Fire'

Saturday's earthquake came not long after the country marked 10 years since the deadly 9.0-magnitude quake on March 11, 2011, also affecting the Miyagi region.

The event a decade ago led to a catastrophic triple disaster as a disastrous tsunami was unleashed and the Fukushima nuclear plant went into meltdown.

Many people were injured last month when another strong earthquake struck.

Japan is on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area along the edge of the Pacific ocean which is characterized by strong seismic activity.

Construction regulations in Japan mean that buildings must be built to withstand frequent earthquakes.

 mm, ab/aw (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)