Magnitude 5.5 earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo; no major damage

TOKYO – A magnitude-5.5 earthquake rattled Tokyo and its suburbs Monday, shaking buildings and temporarily stopping trains but causing no apparent damage or injuries.

Office high-rises in the capital swayed, and trains that stopped automatically as a precaution resumed running in about 10 minutes after tracks were inspected. But the daily routine was barely interrupted. Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone nations and is also among the best prepared.

The quake struck at 2:28 p.m. (0528 GMT), shaking all 23 wards of Tokyo, as well as the surrounding prefectures including Ibaraki, Tochigi, Saitama and Gunma. It was centred in the northern part of Saitama prefecture, a state northwest of Tokyo, and 56 kilometres (35 miles) below ground level, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.

The agency issued a tsunami warning as a cautionary measure but removed it within minutes.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said no abnormalities were observed at any of its nuclear plants, including Fukushima Dai-ichi, which went into multiple meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. There were also no interruptions to the national electric supply, TEPCO said.

Narita international airport closed its runways for inspection but resumed operations after about 10 minutes when no problems were found, airport spokesman Satoshi Morishima said.

Japan sits on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanoes are common.

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