7.4-magnitude quake hits Japan, none killed

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7.4-magnitude quake hits Japan, none killed

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck on Tuesday off the coast of Fukushima, the location of the March 2011 nuclear power plant disaster, triggering brief alarm over another large-scale tsunami or possible nuclear meltdown.

The quake struck at 5:59 a.m. local time at a depth of over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, and triggered a tsunami advisory in the Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, warning waves could reach up to three meters.

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs also promptly released a statement, saying it will “observe the situation closely while operating emergency response plans with the consulate in Sendai and other nearby consulates to see if there are any Korean casualties.”

A 1-meter tsunami hit the Fukushima coast near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled since the 2011 meltdown, and the Japanese government issued warnings and sirens for residents to flee the coastal area.

Waves at Sendai port in Miyagi Prefecture were recorded at a height of 1.4 meters, but the tsunami warnings were soon downgraded and eventually canceled.

The focus of the quake was about 25 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima. Tremors could be felt from Tokyo.

No deaths have been reported so far, though there are about a dozen casualties.

The water cooling system on the third reactor Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant stopped working temporarily before resuming operation, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco.

Japan’s Cabinet Chief Secretary Yoshihide Suga said through a press conference that there was no radiation leak.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during his visit to Argentina, held a press conference in Buenos Aires in the aftermath of the quake to state that Tokyo plans to “dedicate every effort to disaster response.”

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was an aftershock to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which killed 18,000 people. It warned there could be a larger quake in the following days.

In April, some 50 people died in two earthquakes in Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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