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Japan Jolted By Four Earthquakes

August 27, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan was hit by four moderate earthquakes Sunday, the strongest of which had a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 and shook wide areas of the country’s northernmost island.

There were no reports of damage or injuries in any of the quakes, and authorities said there was no danger of tidal waves.

The most powerful struck at 12:30 a.m. and was centered about 20 miles under the seabed off the southern coast of Hokkaido, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

In the coastal towns of Urakawa and Shizunai, about 470 miles north of Tokyo, the temblor toppled unsecured objects and woke sleepers.

Separately, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 shook Tokyo’s eastern and northern suburbs at 8:42 a.m. Sunday, the agency said.

It was centered about 40 miles underground in Chiba state, which borders Tokyo on the east, and caused office buildings in Tokyo to sway.

About an hour later, a magnitude 4.9 earthquake rattled a small volcanic island 120 miles southwest of Tokyo.

It was one of thousands of tremors that have frayed nerves on Miyake island since Mount Oyama rumbled back to life on July 9.

A fourth earthquake with a magnitude of 4.4 shook Osaka at about 1:13 p.m. Sunday. Japan’s second-largest city, Osaka is about 250 miles west of Tokyo. The quake temporarily suspended rail service, national broadcaster NHK reported.

Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries. It sits atop four tectonic plates, slabs of land that move across the Earth’s surface.

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