Minor tsunami hits northeastern Japan after strong quake

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Minor tsunami hits northeastern Japan after strong quake
Tokyo, Jul 12: A minor tsunami hit Miyagi prefecture in Japan early today after a strong 6.8-magnitude quake jolted the country's northeastern Pacific coast, prompting advisories for regions including around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. A tsunami of 20 centimetres was observed at 5.12 am local time (0142 IST Saturday) in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The agency had issued a tsunami advisory for Miyagi as well as neighbouring Fukushima and Iwate prefectures, warning that a wave of up to one metre (3.3 feet) could impact their Pacific coastlines after the quake. Large areas of the coastline covered by the advisory are still recovering from the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster that killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Plant operators Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said there were no immediate reports of abnormality after today's quake.

"We have not seen any damage or any change in radiation gauges after the quake," said TEPCO spokesman Masahiro Asaoka. "Today's operation has yet to start but we ordered workers to evacuate to high places," Asaoka said. The meteorological agency advised people to leave the coast immediately, while Japan's public broadcaster NHK said some local authorities had issued evacuation advisories to their residents. Kyodo said the city of Iwate had issued an evacuation advisory.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck around 129 kilometres (79 miles) east south-east of the city of Namie, an estimated 284 kilometres (176 miles) east north-east of the capital Tokyo, at 4.22 am local time (0052 IST Saturday). The Fukushima plant's cooling systems were swamped by the 2011 tsunami, sparking reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks in the worst atomic crisis in a generation. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from around the plant, with decommissioning of the site expected to take decades. 

PTI

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