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Japan issues tsunami advisory after 6.8 quake

19 august 2011, 13:12
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 struck off Japan's northeast coast Friday, triggering a tsunami advisory, AFP reports, citing the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

The quake, which swayed buildings in Tokyo, struck off the Pacific coast at a depth of 20 kilometres (12 miles) at 0536 GMT, according to a preliminary report from the agency.

There were no immediate reports of damage from the tremor that struck 80 kilometres southeast of Miyagi prefecture, not far from the epicentre of the powerful magnitude-9.0 quake that hit on March 11.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami in the broader Pacific Ocean.

But the meteorological agency warned that waves of up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) may hit areas along the disaster-struck coast, including the area where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is situated.

The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), said there were no reports of fresh damage or abnormalities after the latest quake at the stricken atomic power plant.

Ai Tanaka, a spokeswoman with TEPCO, told AFP: "There is no abnormality in our cooling operations at the plant. Radiation gauges did not show any abnormal change either.

"All officials working outside were temporarily evacuated to safe places. It is not immediately known whether the tsunami has actually arrived at the seashore near the plant."

Friday's 6.8-magnitude earthquake off Japan was unlikely to have triggered a major Pacific-wide tsunami, the US National Weather Service said immediately after.

While the service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did caution that a local tsunami was possible near the quake's epicenter, "no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists" in the broader Pacific Ocean.

Japan's TEPCO says no abnormalities at Fukushima nuclear plant after quake.

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