Two people were killed and dozens injured in a powerful overnight earthquake that rattled large parts of east Japan and prompted a tsunami warning, authorities said Thursday.
Residents and officials in the country’s northeast were still trying to assess the damage early on Thursday, after the 7.4-magnitude quake that hit shortly before midnight.
A tsunami warning for waves of up to a metre in parts of northeast Japan was lifted in the early hours of Thursday, after authorities recorded water levels up to 30cm higher than usual in some areas.
Multiple smaller jolts continued to hit the region throughout the night and morning on Thursday.
Initial reports of damage appeared relatively minor, in a country with tough building codes intended to protect against devastation from frequent earthquakes, and officials said there were no abnormalities at nuclear plants.
“We’re doing our best to assess the extent of the damage,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters overnight.
“Major aftershocks often happen a couple of days after the first quake, so please stay away from any collapsed buildings… and other high-risk places,” he added.
Two people were killed in the quake, one in the Fukushima region and a second in neighbouring Miyagi, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, with over 90 people injured across several regions.
The quake struck at a depth of 60 kilometres (37 miles) off the Fukushima coast and was preceded minutes earlier by another strong 6.1-magnitude shake in the same area, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.
The night-time shaking came just days after Japan marked the 11th anniversary of a massive quake that triggered a deadly tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.