A series of tsunami waves have hit Japan following a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, prompting authorities to urge residents on much of the nation’s northern Pacific coast to move to higher ground.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for waves of up to 3 meters (10 feet) in Fukushima and another prefecture, and a tsunami advisory for much of the rest of northeast Japan’s Pacific coast. Waves as high as 1.4 meters (4.5 feet) were recorded in the aftermath, as some areas experienced blackouts.
The epicentre of the earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, was off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 25km (15 miles), the agency said.
A 60cm (2ft) tsunami was observed at Fukushima’s Onahama Port and a 1.4 meter (4.5ft) tsunami at Sendai shortly after the quake, according to public broadcaster NHK.
“We saw high waves but nothing that went over the tidal barriers,” a man in the city of Iwaki told the NTV television network.
Residents of the area were told “not to relax” as more waves were expected, NHK reported.
A spokesman for the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a press conference that the tide level was still rising and expanded the zone affected by the tsunami warning to include Miyagi prefecture.
There were no immediate reports of damage or serious injury after the quake hit at 5.59am (2059 GMT). One woman suffered cuts to her head from falling dishes, Kyodo news agency reported, citing fire department officials. A man in his 60s also suffered minor injuries, according to police.
Tepco was checking its nuclear plants in Fukushima, which were devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, for damage, NHK said.
“I would not expect any wave to reach the heights of those experienced in 2011, but that does not mean that this event will not be damaging,” said James Goff, is Director of the Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Centre. “One concern is not necessarily the size of the earthquake itself but whether or not it might generate submarine landslides that can themselves generate large tsunamis.”