One person was killed and four injured when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck northeastern Japan on Monday, leading authorities to expand the evacuation area around the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
The earthquake, with an epicenter 164 kilometers northeast of Tokyo in the Fukushima prefecture, struck at a depth of 10 kilometers. It was initially said to be magnitude 7.1 but was later downgraded to 6.6.
The quake caused a power cut to the equipment pumping water to cool the crippled plant’s reactors.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said earlier in the day residents in areas between 20 and 30 kilometers around Fukushima would be advised to evacuate due to accumulated radiation exposure levels.
One such area is the village of Iitate in the Fukushima prefecture located 30 kilometers from the power plant.
Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno told NHK he was against an evacuation because radiation levels in the village remained low.
The number of people confirmed dead or missing from the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and aftershocks in northeastern Japan currently stands at 27,475.
The twin disaster knocked out the cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, raising concerns over radiation leaks.
MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti)