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July 10, 2011

Breaking news : Strong earthquake shakes northeastern Japan

A strong earthquake struck on Sunday the same area of ​​northeastern Japan devastated by a powerful earthquake in March, but there was no indication of further damage along the coast or in the shattered Fukushima nuclear plant, officials said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted a tsunami warning for the region, after initially urged residents in the disaster zone away from the coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the magnitude of the quake at 7.0 degrees and said it occurred at a depth of 18 kilometers off the northeast coast, shortly before 10:00 local time.

The same area was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March, which caused 21,000 deaths and disappearances. The disaster of the March 11 cut power plant in Fukushima and triggered a nuclear crisis.

"It started as a slight quiver, then gradually became stronger," said Nobuyuki Midorikawa, an official of the city of Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture.

"After living such devastation in March, the earthquake and tsunami warning made me feel that we can not lower our guard against a tsunami," said Midorikawa.

Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the plant in Fukushima, said the workers closest to the coast had been evacuated to higher ground briefly, and had already returned to work.

The company added that there was no immediate sign of damage to the plant, where it was to fix the cooling system to stabilize the reactor and radiation control. The cooling system was not disrupted by the earthquake, he said.

Tokyo Electric said it also damaged the huge barge anchored off the Fukushima nuclear plant has been used as a temporary storage of water contaminated with radiation.

The March 11 earthquake that struck the northeastern coast of Japan had a magnitude of 9.0 and triggered a tsunami that caused severe damage to the coast and reached about 14 meters in the nuclear plant in Fukushima.

The loss of electricity resulting in the Fukushima nuclear plant cooling systems turned off and causing a nuclear fusion fuel for three of the six reactors at the complex. Subsequently, hydrogen explosions radioactive material distributed over a wide area.

Nearly 80,000 residents were forced to evacuate due to radiation and the Government of Japan faced harsh criticism for his handling of the disaster.

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