TOKYO — A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 hit Japan’s northeastern coast on Sunday, prompting a tsunami warning for the area still recovering from a devastating quake and killer wave four months ago.
Residents in coastal areas were warned to evacuate, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake hit at 9:57 local time, and a warning of a tsunami was issued for most of the northeastern coastline. The epicentre of the quake was in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu, at a depth of about 10 kilometres.
Japanese officials predicted the quake could generate tsunami of up to 50 centimetres, but the initial waves were only about 10 centimetres.
Japan’s northeastern coastline was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left nearly 23,000 dead or missing and touched off a nuclear crisis at a badly damaged facility in Fukushima.
Officials said there were no reports of abnormalities at the Fukushima plant caused by Sunday’s quake. Airports in the area were also functioning normally.
Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries. Dozens of strong aftershocks have been felt since the March 11 disaster, which measured a 9.0 magnitude and was the strongest in Japanese history.
Sunday’s quake registered 4 on the Japanese scale of 7, meaning it was felt as moderately strong. Because of the damage from the March quake and tsunami, however, many buildings in the area are structurally weak and seawalls have been destroyed, making the region more vulnerable to relatively weaker quakes.