The government said 104 people were injured but there were no deaths.
Damage was limited due
to stricter building
codes imposed in 1978
The earthquake measured 7.0 on Richter scale and rocked buildings as far away as Tokyo, about 450 kilometres to the south.
Damage was limited and there was no tsunami or giant wave because the quake’s centre, 20 kilometres off the east coast, was described as deep at 71 kilometres below the surface.
The earthquake also struck a mainly agricultural area that has several big cities and some high-tech factories.
“This earthquake is not the Miyagi-Oki quake that we are expecting,” said Shiro Asano, Governor of Miyagi prefecture, close to the centre of the tremor.
The Miyagi-Oki quake hits the region periodically in a cycle of around 30 to 40 years. It last struck in 1978, killing 28 people.
But the Governor urged officials to remain cautious, saying a tremor similar to Monday’s served as a precursor to the 1978 quake.
“Four months before the 1978 quake there was a fairly large quake so we should take this one as a possible lesson,” he said.
Monday’s tremor was about the same in magnitude as the quake in the Japanese city of Kobe eight years ago, which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale and left 6,430 dead.
Local disaster prevention officials said the limited damage from Monday’s tremor was due to stricter building codes introduced after the 1978 quake.
Some residents who experienced the 1978 tremor said it made them more prepared for quakes.