THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 21, 2021 at 13:07 JST
Residents flee to Hiyoriyama Park, located on a hill in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, following a tsunami advisory triggered by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on March 20. (The Asahi Shimbun/ Susumu Okamoto)
A strong earthquake that struck northern Japan on March 20, shaking buildings even in Tokyo and triggering a tsunami advisory for a part of the northern coast. No major damage was reported, but several people had minor injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the strength of the quake at magnitude 7.0 and depth at 54 kilometers. The shaking started just before 6:10 p.m.
The quake was centered off the coast of Miyagi prefecture, in the country’s rugged northeast, which was heavily damaged during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011 that left nearly 20,000 people dead or unaccounted for.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an advisory for a tsunami up to 1 meter in height for Miyagi prefecture immediately after the latest quake, but lifted it about 90 minutes later.
Officials there said there were no immediate reports of damage.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said seven people were injured in Miyagi prefecture, including two elderly women--one who was banged in the head by a door and the other who was hit in the shoulder by furniture. In neighboring Iwate prefecture, a woman in her 50s fell and cut her mouth.
The temblor caused a temporary blackout in some areas and suspended bullet train services in the area, according to the East Japan Railway Co.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities have been detected at nuclear power plants in the region, including the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which went into a triple meltdown in the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster.
Akira Wakimoto, a crisis management official in Tome, Miyagi prefecture, said he was in his apartment when the quake struck, and felt his room shake for a long time.
In a coastal city of Ofunato, Shotaro Suzuki, a hotel employee, said there was a temporary blackout and elevators stopped briefly, but power has been restored and there were no other problems.
"Our guests seemed worried at first, but they have all returned to their rooms, and our facility seems fine,(asterisk) Suzuki told Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK).
In mid-February, another powerful quake in the region killed one person and left more than 180 injured, though most injuries were minor. The quake damaged roads, train lines and thousands of houses. It also caused minor damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Japan Meteorological Agency representative Noriko Kamaya said in a news conference that the March 20 quake is considered an aftershock of the magnitude-9.0 quake in 2011. Kamaya urged people to exercise caution and stay away from the coastline due to possible high waves.
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