Japan lifts post-quake tsunami advisories

Japan lifts post-quake tsunami advisories

The 7.4 magnitude natural disaster and small tsunami that struck Japan's northeast coast on Tuesday morning tested the sea wall constructed around the Fukushima nuclear plant, that was the site of one of the worst nuclear catastrophes in history.

Sirens had been blaring along the coastal area, warning residents to evacuate to higher ground.

Nuclear power plants on the coast were shut down in the wake of the natural disaster, the strongest felt in the region since the magnitude 9 quake in March 2011 that left thousands dead. "Flee!" written in white lettering over a bright red band in the middle of the screen. Tsunami warnings issued by Japanese officials in the wake of the quake have now been lifted. Even when in shutdown, nuclear plants need cooling systems operating to keep spent fuel cool.

It was the first time since December 2012 that the agency issued a tsunami alert due to an aftershock from the 2011 quake.

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As worries over Tuesday's quake abated with tsunami warnings lifted and no major damages reported, Tokyo shares closed higher Tuesday, with the Nikkei index ending at a roughly 10-and-a-half-month high.

Residents along the coast heeding evacuation advice clogged some roads, with a Fukushima newspaper reporting unusual early morning traffic jams in the small city of Soma.

The operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant said there were no abnormalities observed at the plant, though a swelling of the tide of up to 1 meter was detected offshore. The ground shaking happened at about 5:59 am on November 22. "I'm so scared. But my concern is rather the situation at the nuclear plant".

U.S. Geological Survey measured the natural disaster at magnitude 6.9, while Japan's Meteorological Agency placed it at magnitude 7.3 and at a depth of 6.2 miles.

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The couple are in Tokyo to adopt a baby girl and they were in their hotel room, along with their two-year-old son, when the room started shaking.

In March 2011 the same region was hit by a 9-magnitude quake, which unleashed a devastating tsunami that killed thousands of people.

Japan's famous Shinkansen bullet trains were halted along one stretch of track and some other train lines were also stopped. In the Higashi-Matsushima port, some fishing boats could not withstand the waves and were overturned.

The weather agency issued a tsunami warning for Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures and urged immediate evacuations.

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Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.

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