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Cleanup begins after 7.4 quake shakes north Japan, killing 4



TOKYO (AP) — Residents in Fukushima and Miyagi were cleaning their homes after a sleepless night following a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck off the northern Japanese coasts, smashing furniture, knocking out power and killing four people.

The region is part of an area devastated by a deadly 9.0 quake and tsunami 11 years ago that caused nuclear reactor meltdowns, spewing massive radiation that still makes some parts uninhabitable.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Thursday morning that four people died during the quake and the cause of their deaths are being investigated, while 107 others were injured. A man in his 60s in Soma city died after falling from the second floor of his house while trying to evacuate, and a man in his 70s panicked and suffered a heart attack, Kyodo News reported earlier.

The Japan Meteorological Agency early Thursday lifted its low-risk advisory for a tsunami along the coasts of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. Tsunami waves as high as 30 centimeters (11 inches) reached shore in Ishinomaki, about 390 kilometers (240 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

The agency upgraded the magnitude of the quake to 7.4 from the initial 7.3, and the depth from 60 kilometers (37 miles) below the sea to 56 kilometers (35 miles).

Residents in hard-hit areas found new damages in daylight Thursday, cleaning their homes, putting fallen furniture and appliances back into place and scooping up broken dishes and windows.

At a hotel in Yabuki town in the Fukushima prefecture, where its wall was broken, front door thrown out of place, and dishes were broken, employees were starting to clean up.

“I don’t even know where to start,” hotel president Mineyuki Otake told NHK.

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