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Taiwan, Japan Islands Hit by 6.8 Earthquake

  • Reuters

Japan Meteorological Agency's earthquake and volcano observations division director Koji Nakamura (not in picture) points on the map showing the earthquake center (star mark) during a news conference in Tokyo, April 20, 2015.

Japan Meteorological Agency's earthquake and volcano observations division director Koji Nakamura (not in picture) points on the map showing the earthquake center (star mark) during a news conference in Tokyo, April 20, 2015.

A strong earthquake rattled Taiwan and small islands in the far south of Japan on Monday, official monitoring sites said, briefly prompting a warning for a 1-meter tsunami for the Okinawa island chain.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in either country after the quake, which shook office buildings in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

However, one person was killed in a house fire in the Taipei suburb of Xinzhuang that was sparked by the explosion of an electricity transformer box due to the quake, Taiwan's fire and rescue agency said according to The Associated Press.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a warning for a 1-meter tsunami in small islands that are part of Okinawa, including Miyakojima, popular with tourists for diving. There was no warning issued for the main Okinawa island, which hosts U.S. military bases.

The agency later lifted the tsunami warning. Japan public broadcaster NHK said there were no initial reports of damage.

It said a very shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 had hit near Okinawa at 10:43 a.m. (0143 GMT).

The agency said the epicenter of the quake was at a shallow point near the Yonaguni islands, The Associated Press reported. Television footage of the area showed calm seas, but as a precaution school children in some low-lying areas of islands in the area were evacuated to safer locations.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau put the epicenter of the quake about 75 kilometers (45 miles) off Taiwan's eastern coast at a depth of about 17 kilometers (10 miles).

The U.S. Geological Survey identified a single quake, measuring 6.6, hitting 72 kilometers southeast of Su-ao in Taiwan at a depth of about 30 kilometers (20 miles). There are often small discrepancies in quake details reported by different agencies.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami after the quake.

Some material for this report came from AP.

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