Earthquake hits Japan off coast of Fukushima nuclear plant

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Japan, just 320 kilometres east of Fukushima nuclear plant.

The American scientific agency, which tracks natural disasters around the world, said the quake occurred 281 kilometres from Kamaishi, in northern Japan.

The earthquake caused no known damage and was reported by fewer than 40 people on the online reporting page.

Meanwhile a 6.5 magnitude earthquake has struck Vanuatu, east of Australia.

Local residents have been told to expect tsunami warnings.

It comes after New Zealand was on Wednesday hit by two earthquakes with "moderate shaking" having a widespread effect.

The first was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake at depth of 33km, which struck 585km south-west off the Invercargill coast, on the South Island at 1.43pm local time.

A second 5.1 magnitude quake, 17km deep, hit 30km northeast of Seddon, between New Zealand's North and South Islands, GeoNet confirmed.

Mexico is meanwhile still reeling in the wake of a disastrous 7.1 magnitude earthquake that has so far claimed 217 lives.