Japan hit by 7.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Fukushima prefecture

The earthquake originated near the epicentre of the 2011 quake which triggered a tsunami and killed more than 18,000 people

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 hit off the coast of eastern Japan on Saturday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The epicentre of the earthquake was off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of 60 kilometres, the agency said, adding that a tsunami warning was not issued.

It originated near the epicentre of a 2011 quake which triggered a tsunami and killed more than 18,000 people.

The earthquake hit at 11.08pm local time and shook buildings in the capital, Tokyo. it was felt across Japan.

Local media reported power cuts affecting hundreds of thousands of homes across the Tohoku region of eastern Japan.

The reports said the quake threw dishes from shelves, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

Some trains in the region were stopped after the quake.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was called to his office, and local broadcaster NHK said the government would set up a special liaison office to co-ordinate with affected regions.

Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tepco said in a tweet it was checking on the status of the facility, which suffered nuclear meltdowns after an earthquake and a 15-metre tsunami in 2011.

There were no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident but the meltdown forced 160,000 people to flee, many never to return.

Japan sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches through South-east Asia and across the Pacific basin.

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