Japanese coastal towns evacuated following earthquake and minor tsunamis

The quake's epicentre was at a depth of about six miles

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The Independent Online

The coast of north-eastern Japan has been struck by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, triggering minor tsunamis but with no current reports of major damage.

The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted a tsunami advisory two hours after it was issued following the quake, which hit at 8am local time. Evacuations were ordered for towns closest to the coast and people were warned to stay away from the shore.

The quake's epicentre was at a depth of about six miles. It shook much of north-east Japan and could be felt in Tokyo, 430 miles away.

Small tsunamis of up to eight inches were recorded after the quake along the coast of Iwate prefecture, according to the agency, much smaller than the possible three-foot tsunami mentioned in the advisory.

The Iwate Prefecture is mostly rural, with a total population of around 1.3 million. The area has a nuclear power plant, but it was not damaged, according to a report from NHK.

Several smaller aftershocks were also reported in the area.

The earthquake struck in the same region hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, killing more than 18,000 people and triggering the Fukushima nuclear disaster.