Tsunami warning as strong quake hits northern Japan

TOKYO — Japan issued a tsunami warning on Wednesday after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck off its northeastern coast, warning of a wave as high as 50 centimetres and urging people to evacuate.

The meteorological agency gave the tsunami warning after the tremor hit some 210 kilometres off the northern island of Hokkaido. But U.S. monitors said there was no Pacific-wide tsunami threat.

The first wave was expected to hit land at 6:40 pm, the agency said, and it issued an evacuation advisory for people living near the coastline.

The warning comes nearly a year to the day after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a monster tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people and crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, sparking an ongoing crisis.

There were no reports of damage at nuclear facilities in the area affected by Wednesday's 6.8 quake, the Kyodo news agency said.

Read more: Tsunami warning as strong quake hits northern Japan (external - login to view)