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7.1 magnitude quake hits off eastern Japan: USGS

File photo: Cracked streets from an earthquake in Japan, 2007. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 9, 2009
A major, 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck off eastern Japan Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake was felt across Honshu island, especially its central and northern regions, including Tokyo, at 7.56 pm (1056 GMT), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The quake rocked buildings in the Japanese capital, but no damage was reported. Some local trains experienced slight delays.

The Japanese agency estimated the quake's magnitude at 6.9, and at a depth of 340 kilometres (213 miles) under the Pacific ocean, roughly 170 kilometres south of the Izu peninsula.

The agency said there were no fears of a tsunami

The US agency estimated the quake's depth at 303 kilometres.

Seismologists in Japan, which experiences around 20 percent of the world's most powerful earthquakes, believe disastrously strong quakes will strike off its Pacific coastline in the near future.

Local municipalities routinely hold earthquake drills.

Sunday's quake was among the largest in magnitude to strike Japan this year.

On Wednesday quakes of magnitude 6.5 and 5.0 struck in separate locations in southern Japan, but caused no damage.

In April, a 6.6-magnitude quake struck off northern Japan.

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