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Strong Earthquake Hits Northeastern Japan, Local Tsunami Warning Issued

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TOKYO--A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck northeastern Japan on Friday afternoon, prompting a warning of a tsunami of up to one meter from the Japan Meteorological Agency for nearby coastal areas. 

The quake at 5:18 p.m. local time, 0818 GMT, sent tremors across a wide area of northern Japan, with buildings swaying in the central Tokyo area some 300 km to the south. But there were no reports of damage either in the immediate area or across wider parts of northern Japan.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda canceled a planned speech and was en route to the Prime Minister's Office, according to an official of the office.

The quake was centered off Miyagi Prefecture, further offshore than the massive March 11, 2011, magnitude 9.0 quake that devastated the area and left more than 18,000 dead or missing.

National broadcaster NHK warned residents in low-lying areas near the coast to seek higher ground and said that local towns in the prefecture issued evacuation warnings. It was not immediately clear how many people were affected.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.TO), which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility heavily damaged in the 2011 quake, said that its monitoring facilities were in place and that it had not detected anything unusual at the plant and , which is now shut down.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. (9506.TO) said that the three reactors at its Onagawa plant appeared to have suffered no damage. Like all but two of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors, the units are currently idled.

Lead 10-Year JGB futures rose after the announcement on safe-haven demand from investors after the announcement. 

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