M7.3 quake jolts northeastern Japan

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck northeastern Japan at around 11:07 p.m. on Saturday, local time. A tsunami warning was not issued. Since then, a series of jolts have been felt off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. The Meteorological Agency is calling on people to remain on alert for more quakes this week.

Japan Meteorological Agency official Kamaya Noriko said, "There is a growing risk of houses collapsing and landslides in areas that were hit hard by the quake. People are advised to pay close attention to future seismic activity and rainfall. They are also advised to take measures to ensure their own safety, such as not entering dangerous places, unless there are unavoidable circumstances. People are further advised to be on the alert for earthquakes with a maximum intensity of 6-plus for the next week or so."

The official added the jolt is believed to be an aftershock from the massive earthquake that hit northeastern Japan in 2011.

The intensity of the quake registered a 6-plus on the Japanese scale of zero to seven in Miyagi Prefecture's Zao Town. It also registered a 6-plus in Fukushima Prefecture's Soma City and two other towns in that prefecture.

The quake was a 6-minus in more than 20 municipalities in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

Jolts with intensities of 3 or higher were felt in a wide area stretching from Hokkaido to Aichi Prefecture.

The Meteorological Agency estimates the focus was off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture at a depth of 55 kilometers.

The Japanese government has already sent a survey team to assist officials at Fukushima Prefecture's government office.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide spoke to reporters at the prime minister's office at around 2:00 a.m. He said there is no danger of a tsunami. He added there have been no reports of abnormalities at nuclear power plants.

Suga said, "We will continue to deal with the situation and put human lives first. Cabinet ministers involved in this matter will hold a meeting at 9:00 a.m. They will receive a report on the situation and take all the steps that are necessary."