Japan's northeast, which was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami last month, was rattled again today with a major earthquake (third since 11 March), prompting authorities to evacuate workers from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
The quake, which occurred at 5.16 pm local time, was centered in an area in Fukushima prefecture, about 164 km northeast of Tokyo, and it struck at a depth of just 10 km. The quake was followed by more than 25 aftershocks.
Reports said the tremors were felt as far as Tokyo where residents felt the jolts as buildings shook for nearly a minute.
Japan's meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning, predicting a potential tsunami wave of two-metres in Miyagi, Fukushima, Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures.
Japan, meanwhile, expanded the evacuation zone around a crippled nuclear plant to avoid exposing residents to high levels of accumulated radiation.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex had also stopped the discharge of low-level radioactive water into the sea.
TEPCO had earlier pumped 10,400 tonnes of low-level radioactive water, left by the tsunami, into the sea in order to free up storage capacity for highly contaminated water from the reactors.