TOKYO (AP) — There have been no immediate reports of major damage in Japan, after a strong earthquake struck off the northeastern coast.
The Japan Meteorological Agency says the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Miyagi (mee-YAHG'-ee) prefecture. The epicenter was 6.2 miles beneath the seabed.
It's the same region that was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami last year. One city in the region (Ishinomaki) has reported that a small tsunami of about three feet hit about 45 minutes after the quake. But, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there's no risk of a widespread tsunami.
Public television broadcaster NHK reports at least two people were injured, though officials have not confirmed any numbers.
Shortly before the earthquake struck, NHK television broke off regular programming to warn that a strong quake was due to hit. Afterward, the announcer repeatedly urged all near the coast to flee to higher ground.
Tokyo Electric Power says there have been no problems at any of its nuclear plants.
063-a-09-(Jana Pursley, geophysisist, U.S. Geological Survey, in AP interview)-"of the earthquake"-U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Jana Pursley says the quake struck off the coast. (7 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *063 (12/07/12)>> 00:09 "of the earthquake"
064-a-05-(Jana Pursley, geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey, in AP interview)-"any damage information"-U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Jana Pursley says the quake was a strong one. ((note: watch for dating)) (7 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *064 (12/07/12)>> 00:05 "any damage information"
031-c-08-(Elaine Kurtenbach (KUHR'-tuhn-bahk), AP correspondent)-"much weaker quake"-AP correspondent Elain Kurtenbach reports buildings swayed in Tokyo from the quake, but there hasn't been much damage reported. (7 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *031 (12/07/12)>> 00:08 "much weaker quake"
032-c-07-(Elaine Kurtenbach (KUHR'-tuhn-bahk), AP correspondent)-"and down movement"-AP correspondent Elain Kurtenbach reports the quake was strong, but not much damage has been reported at this point. (7 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *032 (12/07/12)>> 00:07 "and down movement"
APPHOTO GFX132: Map locates where a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. (7 Dec 2012)
<<APPHOTO GFX132 (12/07/12)>>