Tsunami Warning Lifted After Strong Earthquake Strikes Near Japan
The strong quake struck off the coast of Miyagi prefecture.
TOKYO, Dec. 7, 2012— -- A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami warning and evacuation orders in seven cities today, but the warning was lifted a short time later with few injuries and little damage.
The earthquake struck 150 miles off the coast of Miyagi prefecture just after 5 p.m. local time, followed by several aftershocks. Tsunami waves were recorded in at least five different locations, with the largest in Ishinomaki measuring at 3 feet, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
There was never a risk of widespread tsunami warnings, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and the alert was lifted about two hours after the quake struck.
All flights were grounded at the Sendai airport, and travelers were moved to the second and third floors in the terminal, according to an official.
The earthquake measured a 5 on the Japanese seismic scale of 1-7. By comparison, the historic March 2011 earthquake measured a 6.
No damage has been reported at monitoring posts and water treatment facilities at the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the nuclear facility that was devastated by tsunami waters after the 2011 quake, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company. All the workers were moved to higher ground on the site and told to stay inside after the tsunami warning.
Buildings in Tokyo swayed for at least several minutes after the earthquake.
Evacuations were ordered in seven cities in Iwate Prefecture, including Rikuzentakata and Kamaishi. As many as 4,000 people fled low lying areas in those cities.
Ten people were taken to hospitals, including a 75-year-old woman in Ishinomaki who fell while trying to evacuate, Japan's NHK news reported.
In the city of Natori, a 2-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after he hit his head during the quake. In the city of Tsuchiura, in the Ibaraki Prefecture, a 36-year-old woman was injured when a dresser fell on her.
The northeast region of Japan was hit with a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami March 11, 2011, that killed or left about 19,000 people missing.
All but two of Japan's nuclear plants were shut down for checks after the earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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