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A STRONG offshore earthquake has struck 150 kilometres northeast of Tokyo, shaking tall buildings in Japan’s capital, but authorities did not issue a tsunami alert.

The death toll from Friday’s earthquake is still officially below 2000, but is expected to rise substantially. In one town alone, the toll is likely to reach 10,000.

Meanwhile, radiation levels at the Onagawa nuclear plant in Japan have returned to normal after a state of emergency was called there earlier, the UN atomic watchdog IAEA says.

“The Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that radioactivity levels at the site boundary of the Onagawa nuclear power plant have returned to normal background levels,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

Earlier, excessive levels at Onagawa had led the authorities to report a state of emergency there.

“The first or lowest state of emergency was reported at the plant earlier on Sunday after an increased level of radioactivity was detected at the site boundary,” the Vienna-based IAEA said.

“Investigations at the site indicate that no emissions of radioactivity have occurred from any of the three units at Onagawa. The current assumption of the Japanese authorities is that the increased level may have been due to a release of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant,” it said. heraldsun

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