6.8-mag earthquake hits near Tokyo

May 7, 2008 1:51:54 PM PDT
A strong earthquake struck off the coast of Japan early Thursday, the national Meteorological Agency said, waking up people 100 miles away in Tokyo. Two people suffered minor injuries from falling furniture, public television broadcaster NHK reported. An 18-year-old man was hit when his stereo speakers fell onto his bed, and a 25-year-old man was hit by objects rattled off shelves.

There were no other immediate reports of injuries or damage from the magnitude 6.8 earthquake, NHK said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The earthquake occurred at 1:45 a.m. offshore at a depth of about 25 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was about 100 miles northeast of Tokyo.

A second quake with a magnitude of 5.3 struck the same area about 30 minutes later, and more aftershocks could follow, Tamotsu Aketagawa, an official who monitors earthquakes for the country's Meteorological Agency, told The Associated Press.

"Since it was a very large-scale earthquake, we would expect to see some modest aftershocks," he said.

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world because it sits atop four tectonic plates. Tokyo has not been hit by a major quake since 1923, when 140,000 people died in the Great Kanto Earthquake.