An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale has hit Japan prompting a tsunami warning to be issued for the Pacific Ocean.
Although the earthquake shook Tokyo, one of the world’s most congested and built-up cities, no fatalities were reported.
The first earthquake occurred 382 kilometres northeast of Tokyo, reported the US Geological Survey.
A tsunami warning was issued for Japan, Taiwan, Russia and the Mariana Islands, while Guam, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Micronesia and Hawaii were placed at a lower warning level.
Hussein Waheed from the Maldives Department of Meteorology confirmed that a tsunami warning was issued for the Pacific ocean a minute after the earthquake had struck. No warning had been issued for the Indian Ocean region, he said.
The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that followed a quake off the coast of Indonesia killed 83 people in the Maldives and displaced over 20,000. Worldwide, more than 220,000 people were killed.
The structure of the Maldives and the sharp drop-off of the atolls protected the Maldives the brunt of the 2004 tsunami, unlike the gradual gradient of the coast of southern Sri Lanka which allowed the waves to gather power and momentum.