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Japan hit by strong tremor, tsunami alert triggered

Japan hit by strong tremor, tsunami alert triggered
Hundreds of thousands of people in Tokyo were left without electricity after the earthquake. (AFP/BBC)

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A powerful earthquake hit north-east Japan on Wednesday night, temporarily cutting power to two million homes and prompting a tsunami advisory.

The magnitude 7.3 tremor struck the same region where a major quake triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster 11 years ago.

In some areas, it was too forceful for people to stand, and buildings rattled in the capital Tokyo, AFP reports.

The quake took place at 11:36 p.m. Japanese authorities said.

Aftershocks were said to be possible in Fukushima, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures.

Japan’s meteorological agency issued an advisory for tsunami waves of one metre (3.3ft) for parts of the north-east coast, with local media reporting waves of 20cm (0.7ft) in some areas.

Local electricity providers said about 700 000 homes in Tokyo and 156 000 in Japan’s north-east had been left without power immediately after the shock, but supplies have since been restored to many households.

A number of people across north-eastern Japan were hurt by falling objects or in falls, and in the city of Soma local media reported that one man in his sixties had died.

A bullet train north of Fukushima city was also derailed by the quake, according to its operator. There were no immediate reports of injuries from that incident.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the government was still trying to assess the extent of any damage, and authorities said emergency services had been inundated with calls.

In Ishinomaki, a city official told AFP news agency he had been woken up by “extremely violent shaking”.

“I heard the ground rumpling. Rather than feeling scared, I immediately remembered the Great East Japan earthquake,” he said referring to the 2011 disaster.

The earthquake was recorded 57km (35 miles) off the coast of Fukushima, not far from the epicentre of the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s history, which killed 18 000 people when it struck eleven years ago.

The 2011 earthquake triggered a tsunami and destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, sparking a major disaster after radiation leaked from the plant.

Nuclear authorities said that no abnormalities have been detected after Wednesday night’s earthquake at the damaged Fukushima site. (BBC)