October 19, 2005

Strong quake jolts eastern Japan, felt in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - An earthquake with a preliminary
magnitude of 6.2 jolted eastern Japan on Wednesday and was felt
in Tokyo, but no tsunami warning was issued, the Japan
Meteorological Agency said.

The quake, at around 8:44 p.m., shook buildings in the
Japanese capital, but there were no reports of injuries or

Runways at Tokyo's Narita international airport were closed
for checks right after the quake but soon reopened, while
service on some train lines was briefly halted.

The focus of the tremor was 25 miles below the sea off
Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, the agency said.

"It was a slow but powerful shake. It was shaking for a
while, but not so badly that objects fell off the shelves,"
Toru Saito, an Ibaraki prefectural government official, told
state broadcaster NHK.

About 600 households experienced a brief power outage.

"The building was shaken from side to side, but nothing
fell," Hiroshi Okasato of the fire department in Rokkou town,
Ibaraki, told NHK.

An experimental nuclear reactor in Ibaraki shut down
automatically and safely, but there were no problems at any
nuclear power plants in the area, a prefectural official said.
There were also no reports of any damage at oil refineries and
facilities, the official said.

The economy in Ibaraki is a mixture of industry and

The magnitude of the earthquake was measured according to a
technique similar to the Richter scale, but adjusted for
Japan's geological characteristics.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most
seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20
percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

In October 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8
struck the Niigata region in northern Japan, killing around 40
people and injuring more than 3,000.

That was the deadliest quake since a magnitude 7.3 tremor
hit the city of Kobe in 1995, killing more than 6,400.

(Additional reporting by Teruaki Ueno and Linda Sieg)