A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit off the coast of eastern Japan on Saturday (13 February), shaking buildings and triggering widespread blackouts. No major casualties were reported, according to Kyodo news agency, which reported that more than 100 people had been injured.
The epicentre of the earthquake was off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of 60km, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It hit at 11.08pm local time and shook buildings in the capital Tokyo and elsewhere.
No tsunami warning had been issued, the meteorological agency said.
Some 950,000 households were initially without power, government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told a briefing carried on public broadcaster NHK. The blackouts appeared to be concentrated in north-east Japan, including Fukushima and neighbouring prefectures.
A Reuters cameraman on location in Fukushima said his tenth-floor hotel room shook heavily for some time. One man at the hotel was taken to hospital after falling and hitting his head on a door, the Reuters cameraman said.
There were no irregularities at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, or at the Kahiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, owner Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings said.
The quake hit off of Fukushima just weeks before the ten-year anniversary of the quake on 11 March 2011 that devastated north-east Japan and triggered a massive tsunami that led to the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century – one centred at the Daiichi facility.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas, and Japan accounts for about 20% of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
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