Strong earthquake hits Japan coastline near nuclear reactor

Strong earthquake hits Japan coastline near nuclear reactor
The water tanks at Fukushimas nuclear power plant.

A strong earthquake hit Japan’s northern coast near the nuclear power plant crippled in the 2011 tsunami.

At least one person was injured and a small tsunami was triggered, but no damage was reported.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the magnitude-6.8 quake struck six miles below the sea surface off the coast of Fukushima. It shook buildings in Tokyo, about 120 miles south-west of the epicentre.

An eight-inch tsunami reached the coast of Ishinomaki Ayukawa and Ofunato about 50 minutes after the quake. Smaller waves were observed at several other locations along the coast, but changes to the shoreline were not visible on television footage aired by public broadcaster NHK.

In Fukushima, a 68-year-old woman fell down some stairs and broke her leg, according to the police.

Eight towns devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, including Rikuzentakata, Higashi Matsushima and Otsuchi, issued evacuation advisories to thousands of households along the northern coast, along with schools and community centres.

All tsunami and evacuation advisories were lifted about two hours after the quake.

Fukushima Dai-ichi – the plant decimated in the 2011 disaster – and two other nuclear power plants, along with other nuclear facilities along the coast, found no abnormalities, and their reactors and fuel storage pools were being cooled safely, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, instructed plant workers along the coast to retreat to higher ground.

The 2011 disaster killed about 19,000 people and triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima plant. More than 100,000 people are still unable to go home due to fear of radiation contamination from the plant.

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