An earthquake registering 5.6 on the Richter Scale shook the Pacific off Honshu, Japan, the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday.

The same area of northeast Japan was ravaged in March 11 by a quake and tsunami that knocked out power at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

No immediate damage or casualties were reported from the quake that struck at 3:35 a.m. Friday (1835 GMT Thursday), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

No tsunami watch was immediately issued and there were no reports of damage at this time.

An earthquake of magnitude 5.6 can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings near the epicentre but since Japan has high earthquake-proof building standards, little damage is expected to intact buildings.

The epicentre of the quake was about 51 miles southeast of Fukushima in Honshu in Japan, according to the USGS and the he quake was centred some 28 miles deep.

The US Geological Survey also reported a series of smaller earthquakes in the last week in the same area, which runs along a fault zone.

Over 22,600 people died or went missing when Japan was earlier hit by a quake of magnitude 9.0 that devastated Japan's north-eastern coast destroying towns, homes and businesses.