Magnitude 5.5 Quake Rattles Tokyo, Temporarily Halts Rail & Air Transport

By @vitthernandez on
Earthquake
(IN PHOTO) Japan Meteorological Agency's earthquake and volcano observations division director Koji Nakamura (not in picture) points on the map showing the quake centre (star mark) during a news conference in Tokyo April 20, 2015. A strong earthquake rattled Taiwan and small islands in the far south of Japan on Monday, official monitoring sites said, prompting a warning for a 1-metre tsunami for the Okinawa island chain. Reuters

A magnitude 5.5 temblor shook Tokyo on Monday at 2:28 pm. The earthquake resulted in a temporary stop to central Tokyo’s train system and airports.

The Japan Meteorological Agency, or JMA, identified the epicenter of the tremor at 56 kilometres below ground of the northern part of Saitama prefecture. It the southern Ibaraki prefecture, located northeast of the capital city, it registered at magnitude 5, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Right after the tremor, the Narita International Airport temporarily shuttered two runways but it reopened the runways by 0540 GMT. The Haneda Airport’s operations was not halted, while a number of shinkansen bullet-train services and subways in Tokyo temporarily suspended their trips but resumed after 10 minutes, according to NHK.

NHK adds that the Tokai No 2 nuclear plant in southern Ibaraki, operated by the Japan Atomic Power Co, had neither irregularities nor changes in radiation levels near the sight. There was also no damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant crippled in the March 2011 tremor, according to its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

A JMA official said that no aftershocks were detected as of 0620 GMT, but he warned there could still be aftershocks of up to level 4 until next week. Although there has so far no reports of serious injuries, the official said that rocks could still fall and some areas may experience landslides.

He added that chance of a tsunami hitting the quake-affected area is unlikely, reports Asahi Shimbun.

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