Strong earthquake hits Japan's Hokkaido island

A strong earthquake hit Japan's northern Hokkaido island on Saturday but authorities say there is no threat of a tsunami, the US Geological Survey told told NBC News

The quake was measured at 6.9 magnitude and no reports of early damage or injuries were recorded.

The island is about 500 miles north of Tokyo.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK told AP
that nearby nuclear power plants, including Tomari and Higashidori, have reported no abnormalities. The plants are currently idled for safety inspections.

Japan has been reassessing its use of nuclear power after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that caused the Fukushima plant disaster.

Proposed new safety guidelines for Japan’s nuclear industry were just introduced earlier this week. Critics said they were strict enough to keep nuclear power switched off in Japan for years to come, reports the New York Times.

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants to restart the country's reactors, all but two of which have been shuttered since 2011.