5.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Japan - USGS

5.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Japan - USGS
An earthquake has struck the eastern coast of Japan, with early reports suggesting a magnitude 5.9 quake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) earlier put the magnitude at 6.3 and reports the quake had a depth of 10km.

Reuters reports that no tsunami warning has been issued as a result of the quake.

The epicenter was reported as Ibaraki Prefecture in central Japan, about 170 kilometers north of the capital Tokyo, and near the town of Daigo. The prefecture has a population of about three million people.

A statement released by the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reassured citizens that countermeasures are in place to deal with the fallout of the earthquake, and he encouraged people to report damage to the authorities.

Japan’s disaster management agency say it is working to assess any damage to buildings and personal property.

Japan’s NHK news agency report that tremors were felt throughout “wide areas” of the east coast, although it is unclear how much damage has been caused.

NHK reports that the JMA will hold a press conference at 11:45pm local time to provider further information on disaster prevention and earthquake activity.

In 2011, the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake caused large scale destruction of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which remains one of the biggest environmental disaster zones on the planet.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is currently decommissioning Fukushima’s destroyed reactors, has released a statement saying they are investigating the latest earthquake’s impact on its facilities.

“At the moment, we have not confirmed the impact of the earthquake on our main power facilities (including nuclear power plants),” the statement read.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority says there has been no abnormal activity at the Tokai nuclear power plant in the Ibaraki prefecture in the wake of the earthquake, according to local reports.

An official Twitter account for the nearby city of Mito is reporting no damage or loss of life at this early stage.

Emergency shelters have been set up in the coastal city of Takahagi, according to the local government’s Twitter page.

“It should be noted,” the statement says, “there is no worry of a tsunami caused by the earthquake."

Takahagi has a population of nearly 30,000. The area suffered considerable damage during the Tohoku earthquake, including partial destruction of a pharmaceutical plant.