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Tsunami Warning Follows Earthquake Off Japan's Coast

This map by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the epicenter of the quake, which hit Japan early Tuesday local time.

A tsunami warning is in effect along Japan's Fukushima coast after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit off the coast.

The earthquake struck at 5:59 a.m. local time at a depth of about 10 kilometers, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

It said that waves as high as 9 feet are "expected to hit repeatedly." Fukushima residents should evacuate coastal areas immediately and move to higher ground, it said, and "damage due to tsunami waves is expected."

This quake occurred about 75 miles southwest of the devastating 2011 Tohoku quake and is on a different fault line, a U.S. Geological Survey duty seismologist told NPR's Chris Joyce.

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear. State broadcaster NHK said a fire erupted at a petrochemical complex and was quickly put out.

Fukushima is home to the nuclear power plant damaged in 2011's quake and tsunami. The Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the plant, tweeted that it has found no abnormalities at its power stations.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was ready to respond.

"I have ordered my government to immediately collect and provide information regarding tsunami evacuations and do everything to tackle the disaster," he told reporters in Buenos Aires.

Abe is in Argentina following the APEC meeting in Peru.

John Matthews in Tokyo says news reports in Japan are stressing the importance of evacuation orders.

"Broadcasters repeatedly reminded listeners to remember the 2011 disaster, when residents of northeastern Japan returned to coastal areas too early and were swept away by tsunamis," he says.

This is a breaking news story. As often happens in situations like these, some information reported early may turn out to be inaccurate. We'll move quickly to correct the record and we'll only point to the best information we have at the time.

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