A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has struck southwestern Japan before 6 a.m. local time (8 a.m. AEDT). The earthquake also triggered a small tsunami, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The JMA expects waves of up to one metre across the western coast of Kagoshima and Satsunan islands, BBC reports. "Get out of the water and leave the coast immediately. As the strong current will continue, do not get in the sea or approach coasts until the advisory is cleared," said the JMA warning.

According to the Associated Press, a 30-centimeter (one foot) tsunami was recorded at 6:45 a.m. on Nakanoshima, a small island to the south of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island. However, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no major tsunami threat from the quake.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (6 miles) about 190 kilometres southwest of Kagoshima city, the JMA said. No details about injuries or damages are known at this stage.

In March 2011, a huge undersea earthquake hit Japan and sent a tsunami into Japan’s northeast coast, killing thousands of people.

Earthquakes are frequent in Japan as the islands are situated at the juncture of several tectonic plates. The country has strong, earthquake-resistant buildings and the citizens are trained through regular disaster drills so that earthquakes occur without major loss of life and property.

More details about the recent earthquake to come.

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