Strong Quake Hits Northeastern Japan

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, March 20 (Jiji Press)--A strong earthquake rocked northeastern Japan regions, including Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday afternoon.

The temblor, with an estimated magnitude of 6.9, struck around 6:09 p.m. (9:09 a.m. GMT), measuring up to upper 5, the fourth-highest level on the country's seismic intensity scale, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It occurred at a depth of 59 kilometers off Miyagi, which faces the Pacific Ocean.

Upper 5 was registered in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi, and the cities of Tome, Osaki, Iwanuma, Ishinomaki and Higashimatsushima in the prefecture. The quake measured lower 5, fifth highest on the scale, in the cities of Kesennuma, Kurihara, Natori and Kakuda in Miyagi, the Miyagi town of Minamisanriku, the cities of Ofunato and Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture, north of Miyagi, and the cities of Tamura, Soma and Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture, south of Miyagi.

The agency issued a tsunami alert for Miyagi following the quake. With no clear tsunami observed, the alert was lifted at 7:30 p.m. Some sea level changes may be observed for a half day or so, but no material damage is expected, the agency said.

At a press conference, Noriko Kamaya, an official of the agency, said that the quake is considered to be an aftershock of the 9.0-magnitude March 2011 earthquake, which hit the Tohoku northeastern region, including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, after a similar aftershock with a magnitude of 7.3 struck off Fukushima on Feb. 13 this year. The quake last month measured up to upper 6, second highest on the Japanese scale.

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