Sendai, Japan, 2006 Radu Razvan /

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s eastern coast early today, triggering a small tsunami and causing many to evacuate. A three-foot tidal wave hit Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, forcing many people to move to higher ground before alerts ended. There has been no immediate reports of deaths, physical injuries or significant damage to the area, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami last year.

japan tsunami, japan earthquake, sendai japan, natural disaster, 7.3 magnitudeAftermath of the 2011 earthquake in Japan

According to US Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter was about 245km (150 miles) south-east of Kamiashi, at the depth of about 36km. The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center claims there is no threat to the wider Pacific Ocean, but warned that a local tsunami might be destructive for local coastlines, with possibility of tsunami height varying between 50cm and 2m.

NHK TV broke off its regular programming and issued the earthquake alert shortly before it struck. The presenter then told viewers: “Remember last year’s quake and tsunami. Call on your neighbors and flee to higher ground now.” There have been no immediate reports of deaths, physical injuries or significant damage and the official tsunami warning were cancelled at 19:20 local time, said NHK.

Commenting on the potential repercussions of the earthquake, the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield Hayes in Tokyo said that the predicted height of the wave would represent a far lower risk of devastation than the 11 meters high tsunami of 2011. The USGS reported at least six aftershock, with the strongest being 6.2 in magnitude.

Via BBC Asia

Secondary Image (cc) Official US Navy Imagery