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updated: 7/11/2014 5:19 PM

Strong quake hits Japan, triggering small tsunami

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  • Workers of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., wearing protective gear, install an underground frozen wall during a feasibility test at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The company instructed plant workers on night duty along the coast Saturday to retreat to higher ground.

      Workers of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., wearing protective gear, install an underground frozen wall during a feasibility test at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The company instructed plant workers on night duty along the coast Saturday to retreat to higher ground.
    Associated Press/March 10, 2014

 
Associated Press

TOKYO -- A strong earthquake hit Japan's northern coast near the nuclear power plant crippled in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake early Saturday triggered a small tsunami and prompted towns across the northern coast to issue evacuation advisories.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said the 6.8-magnitude quake struck 6 miles below the sea surface off the coast of Fukushima, 120 miles northeast of Tokyo.

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The 4:22 a.m. quake shook buildings in Tokyo. Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said there were no reports of damages or injuries.

Towns devastated by the tsunami three years ago, including Rikuzentakata, Higashi Matsushima and Otsuchi, issued evacuation advisories to thousands of households along the northern coast, along with schools and community centers.

An 8-inch tsunami reached the coast of Ishinomaki Ayukawa and Ofunato, about 50 minutes after the quake. Smaller waves were observed at severa other locations along the coast.

Changes to the shoreline, however, were not visible on television footages of NHK public broadcaster.

The agency issued tsunami advisory of up to 1 meter (3 feet) in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures along the Japanese northern coast.

Fukushima Dai-ichi and two other nuclear power plants, along with other nuclear facilities along the coast, found no abnormalities, and their reactors and fuel storage pools are being cooled safely, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, has instructed plant workers on night duty along the coast to retreat to higher grounds. The 2011 disaster killed about 19,000 people. That disaster also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima plant. More than 100,000 people are still unable to go home due to fear of radiation contamination from the plant.

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