The quake was reported by the Japan Meteorological Agency. The natural event measured a preliminary 5.5 on the Richter scale, meaning slight damage to buildings and other structures is possible. However there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the quake, which hit at 9.16am local time (1.16 BST), and had a maximum intensity of 4 on Japan’s 1-7 scale, including in parts of central Tokyo.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake measured a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale.
The quake hit 14km SE of Tateyama, Japan, according to the USGS.
The epicentre of the earthquake was off the coast of Chiba prefecture, adjacent to Tokyo, Japan’s Meteorological Agency agency said, adding a tsunami warning had not been issued.
According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre one witness, located 83 km north-west of the epicentre, said: “Windows rattled violently then some swaying for a minute or so.”
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Another said: “Short shake didn’t last long. Hopefully, no more to follow.”
And a witness in Asahi, Japan, 79 km NW from the epicentre, said: “About ten seconds of subtle shaking.”
The latest earthquake to rock Japan hit a depth of 48.1km, according to the USGS.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas, which lies on the volatile Ring of Fire.
The region is a large horseshoe shape which snakes around the globe in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.
Many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur there as the aptly-named zone contains some of the most active volcanoes and seismically volatile tectonic plates in the world.
Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
Just last week Japan was hit by a huge magnitude 6.8 quake.
The earthquake struck at 10.22pm local time (2.22pm BST) at a depth of about 10km about 53 miles northeast of the island of Honshu.
A tsunami warning was issued as a result of the massive quake.
But the most devastating event to rock the nation in recent history was the magnitude 9.0–9.1 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 2.46 JST on Friday 11 March 2011.
The ensuing tsunami triggered by the earthquake caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex.