TOKYO — A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 struck off Japan's northeastern coast Friday, triggering a tsunami advisory that was later lifted.
Japan's Meteorological Agency said the quake hit at 10:36 p.m. (Seattle time) and was centered slightly south of where a massive magnitude-9.0 temblor struck in March.
The agency issued a tsunami advisory, predicting waves of 20 inches along the coast of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, where a nuclear plant crippled in the March 11 quake is located. But about a half-hour later, the advisory was lifted.
There were no abnormalities in key equipment at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, said Chie Hosoda, an official with the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator. She said some of the plant's workers assigned to the coastal side of the facility temporarily retreated inside the building.
Announcers on television urged residents in coastal areas to head for higher ground, but about a half-hour after the quake, there were no reports of a tsunami reaching Japan.
In Onagawa, about 210 miles north of Tokyo, town official Hironori Suzuki said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. There was no visible swelling of the ocean.
"It was a rather big one, perhaps it was because we are still in a makeshift office," Suzuki told public broadcaster NHK. Suzuki said the town has urged all residents via community broadcast to stay away from the coast and evacuate to higher ground.
In Tokyo, buildings swayed only mildly.