Japan has issued a tsunami warning after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit off its northwestern coast.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the strong quake on Tuesday, which struck 85 kilometres to the west of Honshu island.
The meteorological agency issued a tsunami alert for the coasts of Ishikawa, Niigata and Yamagata prefectures and warned of a wave of one metre.
The seismic centre of the quake that hit the region at 10:22pm (13:22 GMT) was off the coast of Yamagata prefecture at a depth of about 10km, the agency said.
Japan is on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire where numerous devastating earthquakes have been recorded as well as volcanic eruptions.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck under the Pacific Ocean resulting in a tsunami that caused widespread damage and claimed thousands of lives.
That earthquake also sent three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing Japan’s worst post-World War II disaster and the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.