Latest on Mexico and Japan earthquakes

Two earthquakes hit this afternoong (SA time), one in Mexico and the other in Japan. Information from the incidents is scarce and coming through slowly. Here are the two latest stories that I could get my hands on. Both are from AFP (French Press Agency)
 
JAPAN QUAKE
 
TOKYO April 7 Sapa-AFP
 
7.4-MAGNITUDE QUAKE HITS JAPAN, LOCAL TSUNAMI ALERT
((Note: quake has since been downgraded to 7.1mag)) 
A powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan late Thursday, seismologists said, prompting Japanese authorities to issue a localised tsunami alert.
 
The quake, which hit at 11:32 pm local time (1432 GMT), had a magnitude of 7.4, according to the US Geological Survey, which said  it struck 66 kilometres (40 miles) east of Sendai.
 
Japan’s weather bureau issued a tsunami alert for the Pacific coast, saying that waves of up to two metres could hit the shoreline.
 
In a statement on its website the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it did not expect a Pacific-wide tsunami.
 
The quake had a depth of 25.6 kilometres (15.9 miles), the USGS said.
 
Although the epicentre was at a distance of 333 kilometres (207
miles) from Tokyo, it caused buildings to shake in the Japanese capital.
 
“Please do not hesitate to leave for higher ground, nor try to return to the coast line. Please do not try to check the status of the coastline,” broadcaster NHK said repeatedly.
 
Its advise not to go to the coastline was supposedly addressed to fishermen worried about their boats.
 
MEXICO QUAKE
 
MEXICO CITY April 7 Sapa-AFP
 
MEXICO HIT BY 6.5 EARTHQUAKE
 
A strong earthquake measuring 6.5 struck southern and central Mexico on Thursday, but there were no initial reports of damage or casualties, Mexican and US officials said.
 
The tremor was strong enough to shake buildings and restaurants hundreds of miles away in the capital Mexico City, residents said.
 
US experts said the quake hit the Veracruz region at 8:11 am (1311 GMT) some 57 kilometers (35 miles) from the city of Las Choapas. It was 167 kilometers (101 miles) deep.
 
The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.5 on the moment  magnitude scale, and said the epicenter was almost 600 kilometers (370 miles) east of the capital.
 
No warning of a destructive tsunami was generated, the Pacific Tsunami Warning center said in a statement.
 
The quake was especially felt in the southern state of Chiapas, which borders on Guatemala, an AFP correspondent reported.
 
In Mexico City — where memories of the magnitude 8.1 quake of September 19, 1985 that killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people remain fresh –restaurants and school buildings quickly emptied out.
 
“It was a strong one, and we have activated all the monitoring systems but have had no reports of damage or victims,” said Elias Miguel Moreno, in charge of the Civil Protection office for Mexico City.
 
In Xalapa, the capital city of Veracruz, where earthquakes are not common, many people ran out into the streets, but there no early reports of damage or any injuries.
 
Thursday’s quake is the strongest recorded so far this year in Mexico.
 
In October, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the northwestern state of Baja California Sur, but caused only minor damage.
 
And in April 2010, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake killed two people and damaged thousands of homes in Baja California close to the US border.

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