Earthquake measuring 6.8 hits Japan
By Isabel Plumbly
An earthquake hit Japan in the early hours of New Year's Day, striking the ocean just over 300 miles south of Tokyo and registering 6.8 on the Richter scale.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said it occurred at 14:27 local time and was officially classed as hitting the region of the Izu Islands, an area south of the capital.
Despite a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami causing massive devastation for Japan, the country often experiences tremors that leave little damage. No immediate reports of injury or destruction emerged following today's quake - which struck at a depth of 216 miles - and no official tsunami warning was issued.
Buildings in Tokyo shook and some trains were temporarily suspended to check for safety measures, but soon resumed service.
Japan is still recovering from last year's 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that left at least 15,000 dead and over 4,600 missing. According to USGS statistics, the maximum height of the tidal wave hit just over 37 metres.
One of the most notable victims of the disaster was the region of Fukushima, in which sat the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The tsunami destroyed the site's power connection, causing reactors to overheat and leak deadly radiation into the surrounding area.
01 January 2012, 11:30