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August 10, 2009

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Powerful earthquake hits Tokyo

A STRONG earthquake shook Japan's capital and surrounding areas yesterday, halting trains and a professional baseball game, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

There was no threat of a tsunami from the quake, which was centered at a depth of 303 kilometers in the Izu islands off the eastern coast of Japan, the United States Geological Survey said.

The USGS measured the quake at magnitude 7.1, while the Japan Meteorological Agency put it at 6.9.

The earthquake, which rattled furniture and walls in Tokyo homes, hit at 7:56pm Tokyo time and shook the capital region, including Ibaraki, Saitama, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures, according to the Japanese meteorological agency.

A baseball game in Yokohama between the Yokohama Bay Stars and Chunichi Dragons was stopped temporarily by the umpire when the quake struck.

Some high-speed bullet trains in the capital also were halted, but began running again after the shaking stopped, public broadcaster NHK said.

Experts believe Tokyo has a 90-percent chance of being hit by a major quake over the next 50 years.


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