The quake hit 218 miles (351 km) east of Sendai, Honshu, at a depth of 5.9 miles (9.5 km).
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The USGS initially recorded the quake as having a 6.1 magnitude but this was later downgraded to a 5.8.
It is unclear yet if there was any damage to villages and towns on the east coast.
It is understood the earthquake has not triggered a tsunami warning.