Thursday, March 15, 2012

Magnitude-5.7 quake strikes eastern Japan: USGS

TOKYO - A magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck east of Tokyo late Wednesday, but no tsunami warning was issued, US authorities said.

The quake, which occurred at 9:05pm (1205 GMT) off Chiba prefecture in the Pacific, came hours after another strong earthquake rocked northeastern Japan, triggering small tsunami waves.

The US Geological Survey rated the latest jolt's magnitude at 5.7, but Japan's meteorological agency had earlier measured it as 6.1.

The Japanese agency said there was no fear of a tsunami following the latest quake "although sea levels may change slightly in a few hours".

The series of quakes Wednesday come just over a year after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a monster tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people and crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

On Sunday, Japan fell silent to remember the March 11, 2011 tragedy, with tearful families gathering in towns and villages across the country's shattered northeast to remember those they lost when the towering waves smashed ashore.

Tens of thousands were forced to evacuate a 20-kilometre exclusion zone immediately around the Fukushima plant, while many families with small children moved away from the prefecture completely.

On Sunday's anniversary, thousands protested against nuclear power in demonstrations across the world.

Japan has temporarily shut most of its 54 commercial nuclear reactors, but plans to re-open the plants has set off a highly-charged debate in a country prone to earthquakes.

On Monday, a group of Japanese citizens filed a lawsuit to prevent the restart of a nuclear power plant, warning that there was little proof the reactors would be quake-resistant.

The disaster also hammered Japan's already struggling economy, stoked fears about radioactive contamination in the food chain and set off multi-billion dollar reconstruction efforts.

- AFP/ir

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Source From Cnannel News Asia

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