Tsunami Fear As 7.1 Quake Hits Japan

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 has jolted Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, which was devastated by last month’s deadly quake and tsunami.

The earthquake prompted Japanese authorities to warn that waves of up to 2 metres could hit the shoreline, but the tsunami warning was later cancelled.

Buildings shook across the region and in Tokyo the quake was felt for as long as a minute.

The strong aftershock cut electricity in some northern towns, including at the Onagawa nuclear plant.

Workers at the stricken Fukushima plant were also evacuated but they have since reported no new problems.

Local police said there were many emergency calls about injured people, fires and gas leaks.

The National Police Agency says seven people have been reported injured so far in Iwate, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures.

There have also been several emergency calls about fires and gas leaks.

Today marks four weeks since a massive 9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami savaged Japan’s north, killing 12,608 people with a further 15,073 listed as missing.

Nearly 160,000 people are still sheltered in emergency facilities.

The evacuation order at the Fukushima plant came less than 24 hours after workers began pumping nitrogen into reactor No. 1, where engineers were concerned a build-up of hydrogen might react with oxygen to cause an explosion.

Work at the plant was remotely controlled and was continuing, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said.

A nuclear safety agency official told reporters there were no abnormal readings at the plant’s monitoring posts, adding “we have not seen any problem… with regard to the injection of nitrogen”.

The tremor hit at 11:32pm (local time) with an offshore epicentre 66 kilometres east of Sendai and a depth of 49 kilometres, the USGS said.

Japan’s meteorological agency says the tremor was one of around 400 aftershocks to have rocked the country since the March 11 tremor.

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