Moderate earthquake rattles northern Japan

A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 rattled northern Japan Thursday afternoon, but there was no danger of a tsunami, the Meteorological Agency said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the 1:27 p.m. (0427 GMT) undersea earthquake, the agency said.

It said the quake was felt strongest in the town of Urakawa, a Pacific coastal town on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, about 780 kilometers (480 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

The tremor was centered about 40 kilometers (25 miles) under the ocean floor off Urakawa. The agency said there was no threat of a tsunami, potentially dangerous waves triggered by seismic activity.

Japan, which rests atop several tectonic plates, is among the world's most earthquake-prone countries. A magnitude 5 quake can damage houses and buildings in densely populated areas, reports the AP.

I.L.