M7.1 natural disaster strikes off Fukushima, Japan

Fukushima 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits Japan

Aftershocks of magnitude 4 were also reported in the capital Tokyo.

Kato said there were no irregularities at the Fukushima No. 2 and Onagawa nuclear facilities.

A powerful magnitude 7.1 natural disaster, which measured a strong 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale - the second-highest level - jolted Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region late Saturday night.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 11.23 p.m. local time (9.23 a.m. ET), was located 45.9 miles (73.9 kilometers) northeast of Namie, a coastal town 60 miles from Fukushima, according to the United States Geological Survey.

There were no immediate reports of significant damage, though local news broadcast images of a landslide on a highway. Items fell off shelves because of the shaking, NHK said.

"As far as damage, casualties and structural damage are being assessed", he said, adding that sections of the bullet train had been suspended due to power outages.

Kato said there was no danger of a tsunamzi from the quake.

The Hamadori region is home to the quake- and tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. He said there were no reports of major injuries.

Renowned author Yu Miri, who lives in Fukushima's Minamisoma city, tweeted a photo of her home, showing books, potted plants and other belongings strewn across the floor. It was not immediately clear if anyone was hurt.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas.

The employee says strong tremors continued for dozens of seconds. As many as 950,000 homes are now without power.



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