Magnitude 5 earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo

The 5.1-magnitude earthquake rocked the Ibaraki-ken Nambu area in eastern Japan.
The 5.1-magnitude earthquake rocked the Ibaraki-ken Nambu area in eastern Japan. PHOTO: USGS

TOKYO (REUTERS, AFP)- An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 struck eastern Japan on Sunday (July 17), Japan’s Meteorological Agency and the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, rattling buildings in Tokyo.  

The USGS put the epicentre north-west of Tokyo, at a depth of about 44 km. There were no immediate reports of damage.  

The tremor was also felt in the Ibaraki area, a coastal prefecture north-east of the capital, at about 1:24pm (12:24pm Singapore time), the Japan Times reported.

Broadcaster NHK reported that the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power station, which has been shut since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, was checked for damage after the quake but none was found.

 “Shinkansen” bullet train services were temporarily suspended in the region, officials and local media said.  

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year, but rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even powerful tremors frequently do little damage.  

A massive undersea quake that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, killing more than 15,000 people and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.