A strong earthquake has hit areas of Japan devastated by the tsunami 10 years ago, that saw thousands lose their lives.

The quake hit the coast about 220 miles (350km) north of Tokyo at 6.26pm local time (9.26am UK) and had a magnitude of 7, the USGS said. Japan’s Meterological Agency said the quake was 7.2 in magnitude.

There were warnings it had generated a one metre-high tsunami.

The Onagawa nuclear plant, just eight miles (12km) from the epicentre, has been halted and Tohoku Electric Power Co said it is checking for any irregularities, the broadcaster NHK said.

Tokyo Electric Power said the company was also checking the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station that was wrecked by the massive March 2011 quake, which led to nuclear meltdowns and the surrounding area deserted of people.

Several of the towns in Miyagi prefecture, including Onagawa and Ishinomaki, were hit badly by the 2011 tsunami and magnitude 9 quake have taken years to recover.

Miyagi Prefecture is said to have been suffering power outages in some areas, and at least one of the bullet trains that criss-cross Japan at high-speed has been halted.

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Shizue Onodera told NHK from the shop where she works in the city of Ishinomaki: “It was a really bad, long shaking from side-to-side. It was even longer than the quake last month, but at least the building here is all right,”

“Lots of bottles smashed on the floor,” she said.

Footage from inside the bureau of NHK in Sendai – about 40miles (65km) from the epicentre – showed a plaque suspended from the ceiling shaking for about 30 seconds.

The quake could be felt in Tokyo about 250 miles (400km) south of the epicentre.