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7.1 quake hits east of Japan; tsunami advisory canceled

6:22 PM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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TOKYO -- A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck off the Fukushima region of Japan on Saturday local time, triggering tsunami-driven waves that hit three cities along a 200-mile stretch of the east coast that was briefly under a tsunami advisory.

The Japan Meteorological Agency, which has canceled the advisory, said the first waves hit Soma, Kamaishi, and Ishinomaki-shi Ayukama, but that none topped three feet, the threshold for issuing a stronger warning.

The epicenter was located 231 miles east of Japan's Honshu Island at a depth of six miles, according to the U.S. Geological Service. The tremor was felt 300 miles away in Tokyo.

The USGS, which initially reported the quake at a magnitude of 7.3, later downgraded it to 7.1.

It prompted the tsunami advisory for an area stretching from the northern edge of Iwate Prefecture to the southern tip of Chiba Prefecture.

USA TODAY reporter William Welch said he was asleep in a Tokyo hotel room when the earthquake woke him up around 3:10 a.m. Saturday local time.

Welch, who has felt many earthquakes while at his home in California, said Saturday's earthquake varied in intensity and "seemed to be the longest one I've experienced."

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued its initial tsunami warning at 1:14 p.m. ET for Fukushima Prefecture, warning residents to "get out of the water and leave the coast immediately." The warning was later expanded to include Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki, and Chiba Prefectures.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Nor were any irregularities reported at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, about 160 miles northeast of Tokyo. which was hit by a 2011 tsunami triggered by a quake off the Japanese coast. About 19,000 people were killed in that disaster.

All but two of Japan's 50 reactors have been offline since the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami led to multiple meltdowns and massive radiation leaks at the plant.

USA TODAY

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