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Tsunami Warning Issued After Japan Quake

January 19, 2005

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan issued a tsunami warning Wednesday after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off its eastern coast. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake struck at 3:11 p.m. about 120 miles off the coast of Chiba state, the Meteorological Agency said. It was centered 10 six miles below the ocean floor. The shaking was weak and hardly felt in Tokyo or nearby areas.

The agency issued warnings for a tsunami, or waves caused by seismic activity, as high as 20 inches near the Izu Island chain on the Pacific Ocean.

Officials on the nearby islands have reported little change on the sea surface, public broadcaster NHK reported. A rise of water level as high as 12 inches was reported on the Miyake Island, about 110 miles south of Tokyo.

Yoshinori Takahashi, a chief of disaster prevention department on the island of Izu Oshima, said there are no reports of tsunami hitting the island’s shores.

``We have not seen any changes on the water around the island,″ Takahashi said about 20 minutes after the tsunami was expected to hit the island. ``We have issued a tsunami warning on our public speaker system set up throughout the island to warn residents not to approach the coast.″

On Kozu Island, town spokesman Akiyoshi Shimizu said officials have gone down to ports to check any changes. So far, no major damages have been reported, he added. The town office warned residents to immediately evacuate to safer areas on higher altitude.

The Dec. 26 tsunami that killed more than 160,000 in South Asia and Africa was generated by a 9.0 earthquake near Indonesia under the Indian Ocean. The region does not have a tsunami alert system. Wednesday’s quake occurred under the Pacific Ocean near Japan, a region that possesses a tsunami alert system.

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