TOKYO: A powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan early on Tuesday, briefly disrupting cooling functions at a nuclear plant and generating a small tsunami that hit the same Fukushima region devastated by a 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The magnitude 7.4 earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, sent thousands of residents fleeing for higher ground as dawn broke along the northeastern coast.
There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries hours after the quake hit at 5:59am. It was centred off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10 kilometres, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.
A wave of up to 1.4 metres (4.5 ft) high was recorded at Sendai, about 70 km north of Fukushima, with smaller waves hitting ports elsewhere along the coast, public broadcaster NHK said.
Television footage showed ships moving out to sea from harbours as tsunami warnings wailed after alerts of waves of up to 3 metres (10 feet) were issued.
“We saw high waves but nothing that went over the tidal barriers,” a man in the city of Iwaki told NTV television network.
Aerial footage showed tsunami waves flowing up rivers in some areas, and some fishing boats were overturned in the port of Higashi-Matsushima before the JMA lifted its warnings.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2016