Japan earthquake: Warnings lifted after strong quake near Fukushima

A tsunami warning has been lifted following a magnitude 7.4 earthquake striking off the northeast Japanese shore early on Tuesday morning.

According to NHK WORLD, tsunami warnings have been downgraded to tsunami advisories for the Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

It had reported that there have been waves observed along the coast of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, with one surge measuring 1.4 metres at Sendai Port in Miyagi.

Earlier it was reported a possible wave of up to three metres had been predicted.

A surge about 90 centimetres high was reported at Soma about an hour after the quake. A wave of about 60cm has been recorded at Fukushima.

Lines of cars were seen snaking away from the coast in the pre-dawn hours after authorities issued a tsunami warning and urged residents to seek higher ground immediately.

The warning was lifted nearly four hours later.

“Please move as far away from the shoreline as possible,” an NKH presenter told residents.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake struck off Honshu around 6.00am local time, and it was earlier downgraded, with conflicting reports putting its severity between 6.0 and US Geological Survey rating it at 6.9.

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 metre was detected offshore.

The plant was swamped by the 2011 tsunami, sending three reactors into meltdown and leaking radiation into the surrounding area.

A convenience store in the Fukushima Prefecture is littered with fallen products at on Nov. 22, 2016. Source: AAP

The plant is being decommissioned but the situation remains serious as the utility figures out how to remove still-radioactive fuel rods and debris and what to do with the melted reactor cores.

Plant operator TEPCO said a pump that supplies cooling water to a spent fuel pool at the nearby Fukushima Dai-ni plant stopped working, but that a backup pump had been launched to restore cooling water to the pool. Both plants are run by Tokyo-based TEPCO.

The scene at Fukushima shortly after the quake. Photo: Supplied

Tremors have been felt in Tokyo, 240 kilometres south west, however, there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

The latest seismic activity comes just a day after a 6.4 quake hit Japan's Kanto region.

The tsunami is tipped to hit a large area of the island's coast. Photo: Japan Meteorological Agency

The Fukushima prefecture is home to the nuclear power station, critically damaged in 2011 when a major 9.0 magnitude quake struck near Japan's main island Honshu on March 11.

About 19,000 people died in the 2011 disaster, which sparked on ongoing crisis around the severely damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima.

About 300,000 people live in the area immediately around Fukushima city. Close to two million people live in the Fukushima prefecture.

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