Earthquake Hits Northern Japan, No Tsunami Warning Released

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An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude rating of 5.5 on the Richter scale struck northern Japan’s Honshu Island on Friday but has not resulted in a tsunami warning, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The earthquake, which was later downgraded to a 5.2 magnitude, struck parts of Ibaraki Prefecture, Fukushima, Saitama and Tochigi, where it variously measured magnitudes between 3 and 4, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The quake was also measured at a 2 magnitude in Tokyo, Chiba, Gunma and Miyagi.

The location of the earthquake’s epicenter was reported at a depth of 20.8 miles off of the Fukushima coast, 30 miles southeast of Iwaki and 118 miles northeast of Tokyo.

So far, there have been no immediate reports of deaths, injuries, or damage from the earthquake, and no tsunami warning has been issued.

Friday’s earthquake comes more than a year and a half after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering a devastating tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people missing or dead and destroyed the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. That disaster has been called the worst nuclear accident since 1986’s Chernobyl meltdown.

The country continues to cope with the aftermath of that disaster, and according to a recent report from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the expected funds necessary to repair the damage are now being valued at up to 10 trillion yen (or $125 billion.)

Japan is also still in the midst of an ongoing effort to clean up more than 13 million tons of debris left over from the tsunami, burning it and grinding it into mulch, CNN reported. The amount may be the biggest single clean up job the country has faced since the end of World War II. But while residents in other parts of Japan seem fearful of efforts to relocate debris to their towns, officials say that the debris is safe and has not led to any elevated radioactive levels. 

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