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M6.3 quake hits northeastern Japan, no tsunami alert.

TOKYO, Dec. 3 Kyodo


A strong earthquake measuring an estimated 6.3 on the open-ended Richter scale hit northeastern Japan on Sunday night, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The 10:02 p.m. quake registered lower 5 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 in Furukawa city and Wakuya town in Miyagi Prefecture. The prefectural government formed a special vigilance team of officials led by its lieutenant governor.

The quake also shook a broad range of areas north of Tokyo to a lesser degree.

No tsunami alert has been issued, the agency said. Miyagi prefectural police said there had been no reports of damage or casualties as of 10:30 p.m.

The Miyagi prefectural government said its monitoring system put the quake's intensity at upper 5 in Kannari town. In many cases of an upper 5 temblor, unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse, tombstones overturn, drivers stop their vehicles due to the difficulty of driving and occasionally, poorly installed vending machines fall over, according to the weather agency.

A lower 5 quake means suspended objects swing violently and most people try to escape from danger. Cracks form in walls occasionally in less quake-resistant buildings.

Power companies said operations at their nuclear power plants including a nuclear fuel cycle facility in Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture, were not disrupted by the quake, the focus of which was in southern Iwate Prefecture.

But Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train services have been suspended between Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, and Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. Sanriku Tetsudo, a local train service company, said it has suspended operations on a service on the Pacific coast of Iwate Prefecture between Kamaishi and Sakari.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. said the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors of the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture are operating, while Tokyo Electric Power Co. said all its nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture are operating.

Intensity 4 was registered in Aomori, Iwate, Akita and Yamagata prefectures, while 3 was marked in a broad range of areas north of Tokyo including Fukushima, Yamagata and Hokkaido prefectures. Intensity 2 was registered in Tokyo.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Dec 10, 2001
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