Quake rattles Japan, Taiwan

TOKYO: A strong earthquake jolted the ocean floor off southern Japan on Monday, triggering a brief tsunami warning for a cluster of tropical islands and shaking buildings in nearby Taiwan.

The 6.7-magnitude quake struck at around 9:06 am (0006 GMT) 115 kilometers (70 miles) southwest of Ishigaki-jima island in Japan's far south at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), the US Geological Survey reported.

Japan's meteorological agency, which measured the tremor at magnitude 6.8, issued a warning for tsunami waves of up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) for a group of islands in the East China Sea, but later lifted the alert.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Japan or Taiwan from the quake, which rattled buildings in Taipei and on Ishigaki-jima.

"We have no reports of damage for now," said a fire official on Ishigaki-jima. "But we sent patrol vehicles to inform local residents and to survey the island."

"We felt strong shaking, but not enough to throw things off shelves," he said. "I see no changes in the ocean level."

Around 20 percent of the world's most powerful earthquakes strike Japan, which is located at the intersection of several tectonic plates.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck central Japan last Tuesday, killing one woman and injuring more than 120 people.