Japan rocked by earthquake near Fukushima


A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan early on Tuesday morning.

It hit 11.3 km deep, near the east coast of Namie in the Fukushima Prefecture, at about 6am local time (10am NZ time).

A 1.4m-high tsunami wave was registered in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, at 8am.

It was the highest recorded so far, but officials stress that later waves could be higher, and are still urging people in affected areas to move to higher ground. Other high waves recorded include:

There have been no immediate reports of damage and only some minor injuries.

The quake was followed by two aftershocks - one 5.4 and one 4.8.

The tsunami warning was issued to the Fukushima prefecture, with estimations a wave of between 1-3 metres is possible. 

Fukushima residents were urged to evacuate the area immediately. Residents were warned to leave coastal and riverside areas and get to higher ground or an evacuation building.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) says the Fukushima power plant "remains intact" and safe NHK reported. The company said there was no damage to its Onagawa nuclear plant.

Cooling equipment for the spent nuclear fuel pool in a reactor of Tepco's Fukushima No. 2 power plant was stopped temporarily.

Initially the earthquake was measured to be magnitude 7.3. 

New Zealand Civil Defence says there is no tsunami threat to New Zealand.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

The 2011 quake in Fukushima was magnitude 9, the strongest quake in Japan on record. The massive tsunami it triggered caused world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, a quarter of a century earlier.