Quake rocks Japan off coast of Fukushima Prefecture

Brenda Watkins
February 14, 2021

The shaking was felt in Tokyo, to the southwest.

A strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Japan's east coast late Saturday, rattling the region hit by the powerful 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown just weeks before the disaster's 10th anniversary.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 11.23 p.m. local time (9.23 a.m. ET), was located 45.9 miles (73.9 kilometers) northeast of Namie, a coastal town 60 miles from Fukushima, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga headed into his office immediately after reports of the quake, and a crisis centre was set up there.

The quake also caused the country's worst nuclear disaster - three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the air and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the area.

Kato said that some trains in northeastern Japan had stopped running, and that other damage was still being checked. Fourteen aftershocks were recorded, it said, adding that a tsunami warning had not been issued.

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Some people were taking shelter at evacuation centers, and were being warned to practice social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Television footage also showed broken glass from shop fronts.

Kato said there were no irregularities at the Fukushima No. 2 and Onagawa nuclear facilities.

Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tepco also tweeted that it was checking on the status of the plant. VolcanoDiscovery will automatically update magnitude and depth if these change and follow up if other significant news about the quake become available.

Japan sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

In September 2018, a powerful 6.6-magnitude quake rocked Hokkaido, triggering landslides, collapsing houses and killing more than 40.

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