A strong earthquake has hit areas of Japan devastated by the tsunami 10 years ago, that saw thousands lose their lives.
The quake hit the coast about 220 miles (350km) north of Tokyo some time after 6pm local time (9am UK) and had a magnitude of 7, the USGS said. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake was 7.2 in magnitude.
There were warnings it had generated a one metre-high tsunami and people have been told not to go near the shore.
The Onagawa nuclear plant, just eight miles (12km) from the epicentre, has been halted but the country’s nuclear regulator said it has not found any irregularities.
Tokyo Electric Power said the company also checked the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station that was wrecked by the massive March 2011 quake, which led to nuclear meltdowns and the surrounding area deserted of people. It also found no irregularities.
And a spokesman said there were no irregularities at the company’s nearby Daini facility.
Several of the towns in Miyagi prefecture, including Onagawa and Ishinomaki, were hit badly by the 2011 tsunami and magnitude 9 quake and have taken years to recover.
Miyagi Prefecture is said to have been suffering power outages in some areas, and at least one of the bullet trains that criss-cross Japan at high-speed has been halted.
Shizue Onodera told NHK from the shop where she works in the city of Ishinomaki: “It was a really bad, long shaking from side-to-side. It was even longer than the quake last month, but at least the building here is all right,”
“Lots of bottles smashed on the floor,” she said.
Footage from inside the bureau of NHK in Sendai – about 40miles (65km) from the epicentre – showed a plaque suspended from the ceiling shaking for about 30 seconds.
The quake could be felt in Tokyo about 250 miles (400km) south of the epicentre.
An estimated 20,000 people lost their lives in the 2011 disaster. Just a week ago, on the actual 10-year anniversary, it was reported that a hotel in Minamisanriku, one of the worst affected towns in 2011 and just 15 miles (25km) from the latest quake, was offering tours of the former disaster zone.