A minor tsunami has hit large swaths of northeastern Japan, including in a city near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, after a strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the country’s Pacific coast
There were no immediate reports of damage following the quake and tsunami early on Saturday, however, with authorities lifting all advisories roughly two hours later.
Much of the coastline covered by the advisories is still recovering from the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster that killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a meltdown at Fukushima.
A minor tsunami of 20 centimetres (7.8 inches) was observed in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, and Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Waves of 10 centimetres were also monitored in the city of Soma, roughly 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the agency said. The city suffered severe damage in the 2011 disaster.
At least three people were injured by the quake in Fukushima, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, including a 68-year-old woman who suffered a broken leg.
Sea levels can not be gauged near the nuclear plant as the tsunami monitoring system was destroyed by the 2011 disaster.
“We have not seen any damage or any change in radiation gauges after the quake,” said TEPCO spokesman Masahiro Asaoka.
“Today’s operation has yet to start but we ordered workers to evacuate to high places,” Asaoka told AFP.
“Our temporary breakwater that was newly built at the plant is high enough to block a one-metre tsunami,” he added. The local government in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, issued an evacuation advisory to some 12,000 residents, while other authorities in the region issued similar advisories, officials said.
All the evacuation advisories were later lifted.