Tokyo rocked by New Year's Day earthquake

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Tokyo rocked by New Year's Day earthquake

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A strong earthquake jolted eastern Japan on the first day of the new year. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake, which was close to magnitude 7.0 and deep in the earth, was centred off the southeastern Izu islands

It occurred in the middle of the afternoon and was felt in and around Tokyo as well as further north in Fukushima, which was devastated by a quake and tsunami last March.

The victims of that disaster were remembered on New Year’s Eve at a shrine that was inundated by the tsunami in the town of Minamisanriku.

At a sombre ceremony people lined up to ring a huge bell.

Afterwards, in the nearby city of Rikuzentakata, there was a fireworks display which was very poignant for one local man who lost friends in the disaster. He said: “I wish my friends could be here to watch the fireworks, I hope my thoughts and prayers reach them.”

More than 20,000 people died or are listed as missing from the March quake and tsunami, which also triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power said there were no reports of any abnormalities at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plan following the latest quake.

On Saturday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 struck close to the New Zealand city of Christchurch, but did not cause any damage or casualties.

It was the latest in a series of quakes that have rattled Christchurch since a major earthquake killed 180 people there 10 months ago.