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Moderate Earthquake Shakes Japan

October 16, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 shook eastern Japan on Wednesday. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake struck at 1:04 p.m. and was centered about 25 miles beneath the sea floor off the coast of Ibaragi prefecture, the Meteorological Agency said.

Ibaragi is on the eastern Pacific coast of Japan, about 60 miles northeast of Tokyo. The tremor was felt in the prefectural capital Mito, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, prefectural police official Kenji Tanimura said.

There was also no risk of tsunami _ powerful waves caused by seismic activity, the agency said.

A magnitude 4 temblor can cause hanging lamps to swing and buildings to sway if it hits in densely populated areas.

Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries and sits atop four tectonic plates, or slabs that move across the earth’s surface.

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