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Two Strong Earthquakes Shake Japan

November 17, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Two strong earthquakes with preliminary magnitudes of 4.6 and 6.9 rocked Japan in quick succession Sunday. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The larger of the two was centered 255 miles below the seabed off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, the Meteorological Agency reported.

The temblor was felt throughout the eastern part of Hokkaido as well as in neighboring Aomori prefecture (state).

Seven minutes earlier, a fairly strong quake shook in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures in central Japan. Described as ``quite shallow″ by the agency, it was felt in a number of small towns in the Kaga region of Ishikawa.

There was no danger of tsunami _ powerful waves caused by seismic activity _ from either quake, the agency said.

An earthquake of magnitude 6 can be devastating if it hits a densely populated area, while a magnitude 4 temblor can cause buildings to sway and objects to fall off shelves.

Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, sitting atop four tectonic plates _ slabs that move across the earth’s surface.

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