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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 15:52 GMT
Japan cancels tsunami evacuation
map of the epicentre
Tsunami evacuation orders have been lifted for thousands of people in Japan, following a powerful undersea earthquake in the Pacific Ocean.

The national meteorological agency had warned that a tsunami up to 1m (3ft) in height could hit coastal areas.

Small waves reached the north-eastern coast of Hokkaido Island at 1452 (0552 GMT), about 90 minutes after the quake which had a magnitude of 8.2.

There were no reported injuries or damage, officials said.

Meteorologists had warned of a tsunami up to 1m (3ft) in height from 1400 local time.

However, as the appointed time passed, most areas said there had been no visible changes to the sea level.

Downgraded

The quake struck at 1324 (0424 GMT) near the Kuril Trench which lies between northern Japan and Russia, the meteorological agency said.

Officials in 22 towns along Japan's Pacific coast issued evacuation orders for 85,000 coastal residents to flee to higher ground.

The agency downgraded the warnings to advisories, which were later cancelled, prompting municipalities to lift the evacuation orders.

The US-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Russia, Japan and Markus Island in the Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii, Taiwan and the Philippines were among a host of Pacific territories put on tsunami watch, a lower level of alert.




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