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Strong quake jolts northern Japan, no tsunami warning

Reuters logo Reuters 2/17/2015 By Mari Saito
Local resident evacuees are seen at the gymnasium of Kamaishi elementary school after an evacuation warning was issued for coastal towns in Iwate prefecture in northeastern Japan after a tsunami warning was broadcast following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 17, 2015. A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 struck off northeastern Japan on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and small waves were reported along the northern coast but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries. © Kyodo/Reuters Local resident evacuees are seen at the gymnasium of Kamaishi elementary school after an evacuation warning was issued for coastal towns in Iwate prefecture in northeastern Japan after a tsunami warning was broadcast following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 17, 2015. A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 struck off northeastern Japan on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and small waves were reported along the northern coast but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 jolted northern Japan on Tuesday, hours after an earlier quake triggered evacuation warnings in towns along the coast.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK showed live video footage which showed strong shaking in Aomori prefecture, some 700 kilometres (430 miles) north of Tokyo.

The quake was measured at depth of about 50 km (30 miles) on the northeastern coast. Small waves were reported along the northern coast after an earlier quake forced thousands of residents to evacuate towns closest to the epicentre.

Towns along the northeastern coast of Japan were levelled in a devastating quake and tsunami in March 2011.

That disaster struck the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, sparking triple nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air.

Tohoku Electric Power Co, which operates the Onagawa and Higashidori nuclear plants in nearby Miyagi and Aomori prefectures, told NHK it found no irregularities at the facilities after Tuesday's quake.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater. (Reporting by Mari Saito, Elaine Lies, Chris Gallagher, Osamu Tsukimori and Olivier Fabre in TOKYO and Jane Wardell in SYDNEY; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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