Mon, Jan 02, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Magnitude 7 quake rocks Tokyo as emperor speaks


A major magnitude 7 earthquake rocked Tokyo yesterday as Japanese Emperor Akihito led Japan’s New Year celebrations by urging people to work together in rebuilding the nation after the quake-tsunami disaster in March

The temblor struck at 2:28pm with its epicenter at about 370km deep, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. The US Geological Survey put the depth at 348km.

Its epicenter was located near Torishima, a southwestern Pacific island about 560km south of Tokyo.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury and no tsunami warning was issued.

The mid-afternoon quake swayed buildings in Tokyo and surrounding areas, but it did not disrupt the final of the Emperor’s Cup football tournament underway at the National Stadium.

“Some people, who were walking, did not seem to notice the quake,” a spokesman for Tokyo Disneyland said, adding that business went on as usual at the theme park after some rides were automatically shut down.

He did not give the number of visitors on the day, but estimated it at several tens of thousands.

Train runs and airline flights in and around the capital area were not affected.

A magnitude 9 earthquake and monster tsunami ravaged the country’s northeast coast on March 11 last year, killing more than 19,000 people and crippling the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which has since then been leaking radiation into the environment.

In a New Year message, Emperor Akihito said: “Our country is now going through difficult times because of the earthquake and other factors.”

“But I hope that the people’s hearts will always be with the afflicted and that everyone will persevere and work together to build a brighter tomorrow,” he added.

Wishes for recovery appeared to have dominated as the new year started in Japan with tens of thousands of people flocking to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to offer money and pray for good fortune.

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