Tokyo: A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake jolted northeastern Japan on Friday, triggering a metre-high tsunami and shaking buildings in Tokyo that forced thousands of people to flee their homes, more than a year after a similar disaster slammed the region leaving 20,000 people killed or missing.

So far, there were no reports of injuries in quake-hit areas, the National Police Agency said. It was reported that a 75-year-old woman fell and was injured while evacuating to flee from the tsunami and added that a child was also injured in a Sendai city.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Miyagi prefecture at 5:18 pm (1348 IST), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Its epicentre was 240 km off the Pacific coast of Miyagi at a depth of 10 kilometres. The quake was felt in Iwate, Miyagi, Aomori, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.

The one-metre high tsunami reached Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture at 6:02 pm local time after the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for wide areas along the Pacific coast, Kyodo news agency reported.

Local authorities in cities of Sendai, Iwanuma and Ishinomaki in Miyagi and Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture among others urged residents in coastal areas to evacuate. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities have been detected at nuclear plants in the northeast, including Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini plants and Tohoku Electric Power Company's Onagawa plant.

Bullet train services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line were temporarily suspended between Tokyo and Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, while operations of the Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen lines were halted following the quake.

Sendai airport in Miyagi grounded all flights while Narita airport near Tokyo briefly closed runways, Kyodo said.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda cancelled a major speech in Tokyo and returned to his office to deal with the temblor.

Friday's quake came more than a year after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated northeastern Japan. The March 11 quake last year killed or left missing nearly 20,000 people.


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