A strong earthquake shook northern Japan last night, causing small tidal changes on its Pacific coastline; no damage or injury was reported. Several towns issued evacuation orders or advisories to residents nearest the coast. A swelling of 8 inches was observed in the port of Hachinohe in Aomori, northern Japan, about one hour after the quake struck the region. The agency lifted all tsunami advisories about an hour and half later. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the tremor was 6.8 magnitude; an aftershock of magnitude 5.9 struck followed about two hours later.
The town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture, where more than 800 died in last year's tsunami, issued an evacuation order to all households along the coast as a precaution. Yesterday's tremor was centered about 146 miles south of Kushiro, on Hokkaido island. It was a relatively shallow 6 miles below the sea surface. The quake was not felt in Tokyo, and there was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami. (Read more Japan stories.)