A strong earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck off the northeast coast of Japan Friday afternoon, triggering a tsunami warning that was later lifted.

The quake occurred at 2:36 p.m. local time, triggering a 50-centimeter tsunami advisory for Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the national meteorological agency said.

Announcers on television urged residents in coastal areas to head for higher ground, but about half-an-hour after the quake, there were no reports of a tsunami and the alert was called off.

No abnormalities have been observed in Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant that was crippled by the March 11 earthquake, said its operator. Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Reports said buildings swayed slightly in Tokyo.

The quake, with its focus off Fukushima coast with a depth of 20 km, was strongly felt in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, causing the Shinkansen bullet train in the region to suspend service and expressways to be closed, the Xinhuanet Web site reported.

The region is still rebuilding from the March disasters