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Strong quake hits Japan, triggering small tsunami

A Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee measures the radiation in the air as workers prepare materials which will be used to create a frozen underground wall to surround the crippled reactor buildings at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. A strong earthquake on Friday, July 11, 2014, shook northeast Japan where the Fukushima plant is located and where a 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused widespread devastation.

TOKYO — A strong earthquake hit Japan's northern coast Saturday near the nuclear power plant crippled in the 2011 tsunami. At least one person was injured and a small tsunami was triggered, but no damage was reported.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said the magnitude-6.8 quake struck 6 miles below the sea surface off the coast of Fukushima. The 4:22 a.m. quake shook buildings in Tokyo, about 120 miles southwest of the epicenter.

A 8-inch tsunami reached the coast of Ishinomaki Ayukawa and Ofunato about 50 minutes after the quake. Smaller waves were observed at several other locations along the coast, but changes to the shoreline were not visible on television footage aired by public broadcaster NHK.

In Fukushima, a 68-year-old woman fell down some stairs and broke her leg, according to the prefectural police.

Eight towns devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, including Rikuzentakata, Higashi Matsushima and Otsuchi, issued evacuation advisories to thousands of households along the northern coast, along with schools and community centers.

All tsunami and evacuation advisories were lifted about two hours after the quake.

Fukushima Dai-ichi — the plant decimated in the 2011 disaster — and two other nuclear power plants, along with other nuclear facilities along the coast, found no abnormalities, and their reactors and fuel storage pools were being cooled safely, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, instructed plant workers along the coast to retreat to higher ground.

The 2011 disaster killed about 19,000 people and triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima plant. More than 100,000 people are still unable to go home due to fear of radiation contamination from the plant.
 

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