Magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocks Japan, prompts brief tsunami warning

Magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocks Japan, prompts brief tsunami warning

A magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck north-eastern Japan on Saturday, prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning for the prefecture of Miyagi.

The warning was later lifted and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to property.

The Japan Meteorological Agency revised down the magnitude from the initial reading of 7.2.

The agency had warned of up to a 1-metre high tsunami in Miyagi and the first tsunami wave apparently swept ashore in the city of Ishinomaki, according to broadcaster NHK.

Miyagi prefecture ordered nearly 9,000 residents to evacuate from their homes. The order was later cancelled.

The tsunami warning led some residents in Miyagi to rush to higher ground ahead of the possible arrival of tsunami, NHK footage showed.

No abnormalities were reported at nuclear power plants in the region, including the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The seismic centre of the quake that rattled the region at 6:09 pm (0909 GMT) was off Miyagi at a depth of 59 kilometres, according to the agency.

It was considered to be one of the aftershocks of the 2011 powerful quake that struck the same region, the agency said.

Japan just marked the 10th anniversary of the magnitude-9 quake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011, which left about 18,400 dead or missing.

The twin natural disasters caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant, which spewed radioactive substances into the environment. The nuclear emergency prompted hundreds of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Just one month ago, a magnitude-7.3 quake also rocked the north-east, killing one person and injuring about 190 others.

Japan sits at the convergence of four tectonic plates, making it especially prone to seismic activity. The country is also home to 100 active volcanoes.