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Earthquakes jolt Japan's tsunami-hit region, Tokyo


A 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggers a tsunami, causing enormous damage and killing thousands.

Updated at 9:41 a.m. ET: TOKYO --  A series of earthquakes rattled Tokyo and northeast Japan late Wednesday evening but caused no apparent damage or injury in the same region hit by last year's devastating tsunami.

The strongest tremor, off Hokkaido island, was 6.9 magnitude and caused tidal changes that prompted some communities to issue evacuation orders or tsunami 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 later. Smaller changes were reported in several locations on Hokkaido island and Aomori prefecture.

The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted all tsunami advisories about an hour and half later.

The earthquake felt in Tokyo was magnitude 6.1 and centered just off the coast of Chiba, east of Tokyo, at a rather shallow 6 miles below the sea surface.

The town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture, where more than 800 died in last year's tsunami, issued an evacuation order to coastal households as a precaution after the 6.8 quake, said prefectural disaster management official Shinichi Motoyama. No damage or injury was reported, he said.

Nearly a year after an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, Fukushima City residents fear the radiation is spreading outside of the government mandated exclusion zone. The government has asked residents to bury radiated soil in their own backyards, but how dangerous is the dirt and where should it go? NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reports.

Iwate was heavily damaged by last year's earthquake and tsunami. Thousands of aftershocks have shaken the region since then, nearly all of them of minor or moderate strength.

Silence, rallies mark Japan quake anniversary

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 left some 19,000 people dead or missing.

That earthquake, Japan's strongest on record, and a massive tsunami, triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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