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Strong quake rocks Tokyo, some injuries
( 2003-09-20 13:37) (Agencies)

An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted Tokyo and nearby areas on Saturday, injuring several people, but there were no reports of major damage.

The quake, with its epicenter 50 miles below the surface in the Pacific Ocean east of Tokyo, occurred at 12:55 p.m., the Meteorological Agency said.

No tsunami warning was issued, but fire officials quoted by Kyodo news agency said seven people were slightly injured when part of a temple wall collapsed in central Tokyo.

The tremor did not seriously affect transportation.

Japan sits atop the junction of at least three tectonic plates, immense slabs of the earth's crust whose gradual movements are thought to cause earthquakes (news - web sites), making it one of the world's most earthquake-prone regions.

About 500 people were injured and a similar number of homes damaged or destroyed in a quake in July in Miyagi prefecture, 185 miles north of Tokyo.

Memories are still vivid of the earthquake in the western city of Kobe that killed more than 6,400 people eight years ago.

That quake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

The Great Kanto earthquake of Sept. 1, 1923, measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and killed more than 140,000 people in Tokyo and the neighboring port city of Yokohama.

Seismologists say it would be at least another 100 years before an earthquake of the same size and type strikes Tokyo, but warn that other devastating tremors could hit at any time.

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