A POWERFUL 7.1 magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast of Fukushima, weeks before the anniversary of a nuclear disaster at the same location.
At least 30 people were injured in the quake, which shook buildings in the capital Tokyo when it hit on Saturday, shortly after 11pm local time.
According to local news outlet Kyodo, more than 30 people were injured as a result of the quake.
A Reuters camerman on location in Fukushima said his tenth floor hotel room shook heavily for some time.
A man at the hotel had been taken to hospital after falling and hitting his head on a door, he said.
Reuters reported that the quake had triggered widespread blackouts, with some 950,000 taken off the grid.
Government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told a briefing carried on public broadcaster NHK that the blackouts appeared to be concentrated in northeast Japan, including Fukushima and neighbouring prefectures.
There were no irregularities at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, or at the Kahiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, owner Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings said.
The utility also said there was no change in the radiation levels around its plants.
Television footage also showed broken glass from shop fronts.
No tsunami warning had been issued.
The quake hit just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which devastated northeast Japan on March 11, 2011.
The quake triggered a massive tsunami leading to the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century – one centred at the Daiichi facility.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas.
Japan accounted for about 20% of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
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