Japan jolted by M7.1 natural disaster, power outages, injuries reported

M7.1 earthquake strikes off Fukushima, Japan

Tepco reported power outages at 809,000 homes in its service area, Tohoku Electric Power said there were outages at 90,000 homes as fossil-fuel power plants went offline.

An natural disaster with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 rocked northeastern Japan late Saturday, but there was no tsunami threat and no abnormalities were detected at nuclear plants in the region.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake - which it initially said had a magnitude of 7.1 - struck at 11:08 p.m. local time (9:08 a.m. ET) at a depth of 34 miles.

No tsunami warning had been issued, the meteorological agency said.

The quake produced powerful shaking along parts of Japan's eastern coast, and was felt strongly in Tokyo, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. The quake triggered a tsunami that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters.

Aftershocks continued to rattle the region in the hours afterwards and officials cautioned local residents to be vigilant.

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Some people were taking shelter at evacuation centers, and were being warned to practice social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic. Items fell off shelves because of the shaking, NHK said.

Although the epicentre of the tremor was off the coast of Fukushima, there were no reports of any damage at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

According to Japan Atomic Power Company, no abnormalities have been observed at the Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture. "And another quake", she tweeted about an aftershock. NHK aerial footage showed a portion of a highway blocked by a landslide in Soma, a city in Fukushima prefecture.

The US Geological Survey registered the quake at a revised magnitude of 7.1 with a depth of 51 kilometers.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, which lies close to the Ring of Fire, a region around the Pacific Rim where the earth's tectonic plates meet.

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