Tsunami warning issued as 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Japan

20 March 2021, 11:43 | Updated: 20 March 2021, 12:49

People gather in front of a ticket gate at a station as train services are suspended following the earthquake.
People gather in front of a ticket gate at a station as train services are suspended following the earthquake. Picture: PA

By Sam Sholli

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has struck northeastern Japan, sparking a tsunami warning.

The earthquake struck just after 6PM local time (9AM UK time) in Pacific waters off the Miyagi region and could be felt in Tokyo.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 60km, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Media outlet NHK warned residents a tsunami of one metre was expected for Miyagi Prefecture and has warned the public against going anywhere near the shore.

The epicentre of the earthquake that hit.
The epicentre of the earthquake that hit. Picture: Google Maps

Its warning stated: "It is dangerous in the sea or near the coast. Those who are in the sea should immediately get out of the sea and leave the coast.

"The tide will continue to be fast, so please do not enter the sea or approach the coast until the warning is cleared."

NHK's warning also said that "slight sea fluctuation" was to be expected and that in some places the tsunami may be higher than the "expected tsunami height".

Tohoku Electric Power Co halted operations at its Onagawa nuclear plant as it checks for any irregularities.

Image of the Onagawa nuclear plant.
Image of the Onagawa nuclear plant. Picture: GETTY

Tokyo Electric Power has also said that it is checking on the condition of its Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station.

The company's statement comes after the power station was severely damaged by the Tohoku quake in 2011 which caused a nuclear meltdown and lead to more than 15,000 deaths.

Speaking of today's earthquake, Shizue Onodera, who works in the city of Ishinomaki, told NHK: "It was a really bad, long shaking from side-to-side. It was even longer than the quake last month, but at least the building here is all right."

"Lots of bottles smashed on the floor," she also said.