New year begins with strong quake

Kyodo

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 jolted a wide area in eastern and northeastern Japan on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, issuing no tsunami warning.

The 2:28 p.m. quake measured an intensity of 4 on the Japanese scale of 7 in many locations in downtown Tokyo, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures, the agency said.

There was no immediate information about abnormalities at nuclear reactors including those of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

East Japan Railway Co. briefly suspended operation of the Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen bullet train services after the quake.

The focus of the quake was near Torishima Island in the Pacific, more than 500 kilometers south of Tokyo, at a depth of 370 km, the agency said. Torishima is part of the Izu island chain.

Earlier Sunday, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.1 jolted Nagano and Niigata prefectures, central Japan.

The 12:29 a.m. quake measured an intensity of 4 on the Japanese scale of 7 in the village of Sakae in Nagano Prefecture, the agency said.