A powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan this morning, triggering tsunamis along the coast including a one-metre (3.3-foot) wave that crashed ashore at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The 5:59 a.m. quake registered lower 5 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in the northeastern Fukushima prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Tsunami evacuation orders were issued in areas including Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori by the weather agency, as the first wave of a tsunami was observed at coastline 20 km east of Iwaki city in Fukushima prefecture and then 1.4-meter tsunami was observed in Sendai in the northeastern Miyagi prefecture after the quake.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency, which estimated the quake’s magnitude at 7.4, downgraded its tsunami warning from an “alert” to an “advisory” although still urged caution along coastal areas.

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