Strong Earthquake Shakes Northern Japan; No Tsunami Warning

TOKYO (AP) -

A strong earthquake struck just off the coast of Hokkaido in northern Japan. No tsunami warning was issued, and there were no reports of major damage.

The magnitude-6.7 quake hit about 12:30 p.m. Thursday local time, near the town of Urakawa on the southern tip of Hokkaido, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It said the quake’s center was located at a depth of 50 kilometers (30 miles).

The lunchtime quake caught many residents by surprise.

“It was pretty strong. It went on about 40 seconds,” said Haru Matsutakeya, a 45-year-old resident of Hokkaido’s capital of Sapporo, about 170 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of the epicenter. Just before the quake struck, an alarm on her cell phone and of several others around her sounded at a center for disabled people where she works.

Hokkaido police said that two elderly women aged 96 and 86 fell down and suffered minor head injuries elsewhere in Sapporo.

Two nuclear power plants and the Rokkasho reprocessing plant in the quake-hit region were not affected, nuclear safety officials said.

Tohoku “bullet train” service south of the region was temporarily suspended but has since resumed, according to NHK, a Japanese public broadcaster. Some local train lines in Hokkaido were suspended for safety checks, though there were no immediate reports of damage.