Strong quake rocks northeast Japan; tsunami over 6 feet possible
ASSOCIATED PRESS December 7, 2012 2:41AM
Updated: December 7, 2012 3:32AM
TOKYO — A strong earthquake struck Friday off the coast of northeastern Japan in the same region that was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami last year. A city in the region reported that a small tsunami had hit, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Miyagi prefecture at 5:18 p.m. Friday. The epicenter was 6.2 miles beneath the seabed.
After the quake, which caused buildings in Tokyo to sway for at least several minutes, authorities issued a warning that a tsunami potentially over 6 feet could hit. Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi, reported that a 3-foot tsunami hit at 6:02 p.m. Friday.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no risk of a widespread tsunami.
Miyagi prefectural police said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the quake or tsunami, although traffic was being stopped in some places to check on roads.
Shortly before the earthquake struck, NHK television broke off regular programming to warn that a strong quake was due to hit. Afterward, the announcer repeatedly urged all near the coast to flee to higher ground.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killed or left missing about 19,000 people, devastating much of the coast. All but two of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down for checks after the earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Immediately after Friday’s quake, there were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated by Fukushima Dai-Ichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said a TEPCO spokesman, Takeo Iwamoto.