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Powerful Earthquake Spawns Tsunami And Evacuations In Japan

A magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan's Fukushima prefecture Tuesday morning, prompting evacuations in coastal areas.

Last updated on November 21, 2016, at 11:01 p.m. ET

Posted on November 21, 2016, at 4:27 p.m. ET

A magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan early Tuesday, spawning tsunami waves up to 4 feet high and prompting evacuations along the coast.

USGS / Via

The earthquake struck 23 miles off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at 6 a.m. local time at a depth of 11 kilometers, the US Geological Survey reported.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency initially calculated the quake a 7.3 magnitude, then later upgraded its rating to 7.4.

Video from Japan's NHK TV network showed strong shaking in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the quake. / Via

A tsunami warning was issued for the Fukushima and Miyagi prefecture coastline, and was later downgraded to an advisory. All advisories were lifted by 12:50 p.m. local time.

Japan Meteorological Agency / Via

Authorities called for the immediate evacuation of coastal regions in Fukushima and Miyagi, warning of water possibly rising between 1 and 3 meters.

Kyodo News via AP

The Japan Meteorological Agency said tsunami waves were observed 20 kilometers off the coast of the city of Iwaki about six minutes after the quake. Waves were expected to increase in size as they reached land, the agency said.

By 6:40 a.m., a 60-centimeter wave was observed at the port in Iwaki. Later in the morning, a wave of 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) was reported in Sendai.


A 90-centimeter wave was also recorded in the port of Soma.

A magnitude 5.0 aftershock was later recorded at 6:50 a.m. off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, and several smaller quakes also followed.

Minor injuries were reported in several areas, according to NHK.

In Tokyo, about three hours away, people reported several minutes of shaking. Information on any damage was not immediately available.

The NHK building still rocking 2 min after quake...

In 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake rocked the Fukushima region — the largest ever recorded to have hit Japan. Around 20,000 people were killed, and walls of water 30 feet high damaged nuclear reactors.

Following Tuesday's quake, TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, said a cooling system had stopped in one of its reactors, NHK reported. However, there was no immediate danger and it came back online 90 minutes later, the company said.