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M7.3 quake hits northeastern Japan, low tsunami arrive via The Mainichi

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 jolted northeastern and eastern Japan on Friday, with low tsunami waves arriving along the Pacific coast, according to authorities.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the 5:18 p.m. quake was likely an aftershock of the magnitude-9 quake that devastated the region on March 11, 2011, and warned of an aftershock from Friday’s quake of up to magnitude 6 within a week.

After the agency issued a warning immediately after the quake, tsunami waves up to 1-meter-high reached areas in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures and people in many of the quake-hit areas evacuated, according to the agency and local authorities. The agency lifted all tsunami warnings about two hours after the quake.

At least three people were slightly injured in Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures due to the quake, the National Police Agency said.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities have been detected at nuclear plants in the northeast, including Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini plants.

TEPCO said it instructed workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which suffered meltdowns after the 2011 quake, and the nearby Daini plant to move to higher ground.

The quake measured lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Iwate, Miyagi, Aomori, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.

The focus of the quake was 240 kilometers off the Pacific coast of Miyagi Prefecture at a depth of 10 kilometers, the agency added.

The cities of Sendai, Iwanuma and Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture and Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture among others urged residents in coastal areas to evacuate.

The Aomori prefectural government said around 220 households in the town of Gonohe suffered a power outage following the quake.

M7.3 quake hits northeastern Japan, low tsunami arriveServices on the Tokaido, Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen bullet train lines were suspended but most had resumed by 5:45 p.m., according to the operator.

Sendai airport near the coastline in Miyagi grounded all flights, while Narita airport near Tokyo briefly closed runways.

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