5.9 Quake Hits Japan No Tsunami

TOKYO (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck off the eastern coast of Japan on late Wednesday evening, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The 5.9-magnitude earthquake at 9.44 p.m. local time (1144 GMT) was centered about 303 kilometers (188 miles) east of Iwaki, a city located in the southern part of the Hamado-ri coastal region of Fukushima Prefecture. It struck about 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Tremors with an intensity of 2 on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 were felt in several areas near the coast, but there were no reports of damage or casualties. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength of the earthquake at 6.2 on the Richter scale, estimated that some 3 million people in the region may have felt light shaking.

Because earthquakes with a magnitude below 7 do normally not generate tsunamis, neither JMA nor the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch or warning. “This earthquake poses no tsunami risk,” JMA said.

Japan, which is on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, is still recovering from an enormous 9.0-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of northeastern Japan on March 11, generating a large tsunami. The earthquake and resulting tsunami left at least 15,698 people killed while 4,666 others remain missing and are feared dead.

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