7.3-magnitude sparks tsunami warning in northeastern Japan, near site of 2011 disaster


Keiko Suzuki, 40 prays at the site of her uncle's home on March 11, 2012 in Rikuzentakata, Japan.


Chris McGrath

Japan issued a tsunami warning, but later lifted it, after 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the same region hit by the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed or left missing some 19,000 people.

The quake struck at 5:18 p.m. local time Friday off the coast of northeastern Japan. It sent tremors across a wide area of northern Japan, according to the Wall Street Journal, and was felt in the capitol, Tokyo. 

The epicenter of the quake was about 150 miles off the coast of Miyagi prefecture at a depth of 5 miles, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

A tsunami alert was issued for Miyagi prefecture, and alerts for lesser waves issued for Fukushima, Iwate, Aomori and Ibaraki prefectures, public broadcaster NHK said

The warning said the tsunami could be as high as 7 feet, the LA Times wrote.

The US Geological Survey revised its initial estimate of 7.4-magnitude to 7.3, Reuters wrote

Takeo Iwamoto, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company that operates the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant that suffered a reactor meltdown following the 2011 tsunami, said there were no problems at any of the company's nuclear plants after Friday's quake.

The BBC wrote that the height of the feared tsunami would represent a far lower risk of devastation than the 36-foot tsunami that struck in 2011, although even a 7-foot tsunami could be a significant event.

According to media reports, waves ranging from several inches to three feet later hit the coast, but didn't cause significant damage.