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Smaller-than-Expected Tsunami Reaches Japan, Russia


A tsunami generated by Chile's massive earthquake reached the shores of Japan and Russia Sunday, but waves were smaller than expected and did not cause damage or casualties.

Japan had ordered hundreds of thousands of people to move to higher ground along its eastern shoreline due to initial fears of a tsunami up to three meters high.

Tens of thousands of other people also evacuated coastal communities in the Philippines, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand and Russia.

Japan later downgraded its warning when waves with a maximum height of just 1.2 meters hit the northern island of Hokkaido, causing some flooding but no damage. Russia and other countries lifted their own warnings after small waves harmlessly reached their shores.

Earlier, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in the U.S. island state of Hawaii also canceled its warning for 53 nations and territories in the Pacific region.

In Japan, Sunday's warning of a major tsunami was the country's first in more than 15 years. It prompted authorities to sound sirens, cancel train services and shut sea gates at entrances to fishing ports.

The only known casualties from Saturday's tsunami were reported in Chile's remote Robinson Crusoe island, where it killed at least five people and left 11 others missing.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is the most destructive on record. It was generated by a magnitude-9 underwater quake with an epicenter near Indonesia's Sumatra island. It killed about 230,000 people, most of them in Asia's southeast and south.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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