Extended Tsunami Alert for Coastal Areas

On Monday, Japan briefly extended a tsunami advisory for more coastal regions along the Pacific Ocean after issuing it to the two island areas south of Tokyo. However, no significant damage has been reported. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the alert for coastal areas as far southwest as the Amami Islands and eastern parts of Chiba prefecture next to Tokyo, urging residents in those communities to evacuate as a precaution. A shallow earthquake near Torishima Island triggered the tsunami warning at a depth of less than 10 kilometers (6 miles).

The JMA said it hasn’t determined the quake’s magnitude, although it assumes that an underwater submarine explosion caused the tremor. A tsunami wave of about a meter (3.3 feet) hit Hachijojima island, 280 kilometers (170 miles) south of Tokyo, and smaller waves of 60 centimeters (24.1 inches) were recorded in western Kochi and southern Miyazaki prefectures. No damage was reported from the minor waves, although Tateyama city in Chiba, near Tokyo, urged coastal area residents to evacuate.

In 2011, a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami ravaged the northern coast of Japan, killing thousands and destroying many homes. The disaster also prompted the shutdown of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone places on Earth, and the country has advanced early warning systems and robust disaster response mechanisms to deal with these potentially devastating natural disasters. The latest warning demonstrates the strength of those systems, which are being tested once again after an earthquake slammed into the Izu islands chain.

The US Geological Survey says the earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 was centered about 551 kilometers (343 miles) south of Shimoda. The JMA hasn’t been able to determine its magnitude because of the quake’s depth and the proximity to land, a JMA official told a news conference.

The tsunami warning was lifted at 0300 GMT Monday, more than five hours after it was announced for islands as far as about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of the nation’s capital. No significant damage has been reported, according to media reports. The quake was felt in Tokyo and a few other major cities.

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