The Meteorological Agency has an early warning system that, using data from seismographs scattered across Japan, enables it to provide advance warning of the estimated intensity and timing of a major quake. The warning for Friday's quake was issued six minutes before it struck, according to an unnamed official from the Meteorological Agency who spoke on national television more than an hour after the quake.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killed or left missing some 19,000 people, devastating much of the coast. checks after the
Last year's earthquake and tsunami also caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl in 1986.
Immediately following Friday's quake, there were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated by Fukushima Dai-Ichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said a TEPCO spokesman, Takeo Iwamoto. Only two of Japan's 50 nuclear plants are currently operating; the rest have been shut down for maintenance and safety checks while the country re-examines the future of nuclear power there.
All Nippon Airways spokesman Takuya Taniguchi said government officials were checking on the runways at Sendai airport. The two jets that were in the air went to other airports and all seven flights scheduled to go to Sendai for the day were cancelled, he said.
Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama contributed to this report.