TOKYO: M8.5 earthquake strikes near Ogasawara islands

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.5 struck near the Ogasawara islands at 8:24 p.m. Saturday. The Japan Meteorological Agency said there was no danger of a tsunami.

The epicenter of the quake was 590 kilometers deep near the Ogasawaras which are 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo.

The strong quake shook buildings in Tokyo for about a minute. Both runways at Narita Airport were temporarily closed while inspections were carried out. Trains in Tokyo were also temporarily halted and shinkansen train services between Tokyo and Osaka were halted due to a power outage, NHK said. A soccer match in Tokyo was also briefly suspended.

The quake had an intensity of 5 in the Ogasawaras, a 4 in Tokyo’s 23 wards as well as Ibaraki, Saitama, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures. It measured 3 in the Tohoku region and 2 in parts of Hokkaido.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said there were no further irregularities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, damaged four years ago in a massive 9.0 magnitude quake, or any other nuclear facilities.

There were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries, though the Tokyo Fire Department had received calls of people suffering injuries through falls, NHK national television said.

In Chiba, just east of Tokyo, loudspeaker broadcasts called on people to remain calm, but there were no reports of damage.

“Since it was magnitude 8.5 this was a very big quake, but fortunately it was very deep at 590 km,” Naoki Hirata, an earthquake expert at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Centre, told NHK. “But the shaking was felt over a broad area… Fortunately, because it was deep, there is little danger of a tsunami.”