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Magnitude 8.5 quake strikes off eastern Japan

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By Euronews
Magnitude 8.5 quake strikes off eastern Japan

<p>A magnitude 8.5 earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan on Saturday, shaking buildings in Tokyo, but there was no danger of a tsunami and no reports of damage since the quake was extremely deep.</p> <p>There were no reports of further irregularities at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, damaged four years ago in a massive 9.0 magnitude quake, or any other nuclear facilities.</p> <p>The Shinkansen high speed train line had briefly stopped between Tokyo and Osaka due a power outage and some trains in Tokyo stopped as well for safety checks, causing crowds of commuters in some of the city’s liveliest areas to mill around outside stations.</p> <p>The quake, centred off the Ogasawara islands south of Tokyo, occurred at a depth of 590 km (370 miles) and, unusually, was felt throughout much of Japan.</p> <p>“It shook violently. Our Buddhist altar swayed sideways wildly,” Michiko Orita, a resident of the island of Hahajima, near the epicentre, told <span class="caps">NHK</span> national television. “I have not experienced anything like that, so it was so scary.”</p> <p>She added that things on the island were normal.</p> <p>There were no reports of significant damage or injuries, though the Tokyo Fire Department had received calls about people suffering injuries through falls, <span class="caps">NHK</span> said.</p> <p>In Chiba, just east of Tokyo, loudspeaker broadcasts called on people to remain calm, but there were no signs of damage.</p> <p>“Since it was magnitude 8.5 this was a very big quake, but fortunately it was very deep at 590 km,” Naoki Hirata, an earthquake expert at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Centre, told <span class="caps">NHK</span>.</p> <p>“But the shaking was felt over a broad area… Fortunately, because it was deep, there is little danger of a tsunami.”</p> <p>Tokyo Electric Power Co said there were no abnormalities at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant following the quake.</p> <p>On March 11, 2011, a massive 9.0 magnitude quake touched off a tsunami that left nearly 20,000 people dead and nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.</p> <p>Japan, one of the world’s most seismically-active nations, has been seeing a period of unusual activity over the last year or so. In September 2014, 63 people were killed in the eruption of Mount Ontake, a volcano in central Japan.</p> <p>On Friday, at the end of a week marked by several earthquakes in Tokyo, a volcano on the remote southern island of Kuchinoerabujima erupted, forcing the evacuation of the island’s entire population. Volcanic activity has also picked up at a resort area not far from Tokyo. </p> <p>Source: Reuters</p>