Alert as earthquake rocks Japan

Last updated at 09:15 11 April 2005

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 has jolted the Tokyo region, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.

Two runways at Narita International Airport near Tokyo were closed for checks but soon reopened, public broadcaster NHK said.

Some high speed bullet train lines experienced minor delays because power stopped briefly, and some local lines were halted.

Officials warned of possible aftershocks and


A nuclear reactor in Tokaimura, about 68 miles northeast of Tokyo, was operating normally, NHK said.

The focus of the quake, which struck at 7.22am (21.22pm UK time), was about 60km below the earth's surface in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Television pictures showed passengers being helped from a train that had come to a halt between stations in rural Chiba, and a convenience store with goods scattered over the floor.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas, and the country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

In October 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck the Niigata region in northern Japan, killing about 40 people and injuring more than 3,000.

That was the deadliest quake since a magnitude 7.3 tremor hit the city of Kobe in 1995, killing more than 6,400.