Strong Earthquake Hits Northeastern Japan Triggering One-Meter Tsunami

Category: World / Dec 07, 2012 10:32AM EDT
A strong quake centred off north-eastern Japan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo on Friday (December 7) and triggered a one-metre tsunami in an area devastated by last year's Fukushima disaster, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and thousands of coastal residents were ordered to evacuate to higher ground, but the tsunami warning was lifted two hours after the tremor struck. The one-metre tsunami hit at Ishinomaki, in Miyagi, at the centre of the devastation from the March 2011 disaster. All Miyagi trains halted operations and Sendai airport, which was flooded by the tsunami last year, closed its runway. Japan's Meteorological Agency warned of further aftershocks from the quake. - Last year's quake, which measured 9.0, triggered fuel-rod meltdowns at Fukushima, causing radiation leakage, contamination of food and water and mass evacuations. Much of the area is still deserted. While this earthquake wasn't anywhere near as large, the Meteorological agency explained that it erred on the side of caution. The March 2011 earthquake and following tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air. Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, with a tremor occurring at least every five minutes. Located in the "Ring of Fire" arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin, the country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater.