abcNews: by Mari Yamaguchi and Ken Moritsugu –
An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck early Saturday off Japan’s east coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said, triggering small tsunamis but causing no apparent damage.
Japan’s meteorological agency said the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck the same area in 2011, killing about 19,000 people and devastating the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.
Tsunamis of up to 40 centimeters (15 inches) were reported Saturday at four areas along the coast, but a tsunami advisory was lifted less than two hours after the quake.
Japanese television images of harbors showed calm waters. The quake hit at 2:10 a.m. Tokyo time (1710 GMT) about 290 kilometers (170 miles) off Fukushima, and it was felt in Tokyo, some 300 miles (480 kilometers) away.
“It was fairly big, and rattled quite a bit, but nothing fell to the floor or broke. We’ve had quakes of this magnitude before,” Satoshi Mizuno, an official with the Fukushima prefectural government’s disaster management department, told The Associated Press by phone. “Luckily, the quake’s center was very far off the coast.”