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Quake near Japanese islands triggers tsunami warning

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected, center says
  • Japanese authorities have issued tsunami warnings for the Ogasawara Islands

Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- A magnitude 7.4 earthquake off the coast of Japan early Wednesday triggered a tsunami warning for a group of remote islands and an advisory for the southern region of the country, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, which occurred 3:19 a.m., is about 95 miles (155 km) from Chichi-shima, Ogasawara Islands.

A tsunami is a series of destructive sea waves caused by an earthquake, and the warning required people in the islands to evacuate from the seashore immediately to safe places.

According to an initial observation by the Japanese agency, the tsunami height is estimated to be up to 2 meters.

The tsunami advisory stretched across the southern Japanese coast. The quake epicenter is 210 miles (335 km) from Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, and 650 (1,050 km) miles from Tokyo.

The Japan National Tourism Organization says the "Ogasawara Islands is the general term for 30 islands of various size scattered over the Pacific Ocean." They are also known as the Bonin Islands.

Chichi-shima island, "the main island and the entrance to the area, is 1,000 kilometers south of downtown Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean, and it has a land area of about 24 square kilometers. Water-eroded high cliffs surround the island making the scenery even more magnificent, and the area is a popular spot for divers," the organization said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.

"No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data," the Warning Center said.

"However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter. Authorities in the region of the epicenter should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action."