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Powerful quakes strike Indonesia, Japan
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A shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 rocked North Maluku province on Thursday morning, potential for tsunami, the local meteorology agency said in Jakarta. Within minutes, another 7.0-magnitude quake jolted Japan's Hokkaido region.

The agency issued a tsunami warning, but the tsunami did not occur, an official of the agency Jajat Sudrajat said.

In Tobelo of North Halmahera district of North Maluku province, where the quake's  intensity was felt the strongest at 4 to 5 MMI (modified mercalli intensity), there was no initial report of damage or casualties, a local official at the Tobelo district office Heni Rosana said.

"There is no report of house damage or casualties," he told Xinhua on telephone from the district.

The National Disaster Management Agency and the health ministry also confirmed the statement.

The quake shakes were felt in Sulawesi and Maluku Islands with the intensity at 3 MMI, Jajat Sudrajat said.

The quake rattled at 07:00 Jakarta time (0000GMT) with the epicenter at 122 kilometers northwest Ternate of North Maluku province and at 10 kilometers under sea bed, he said.

Indonesia sits at a vulnerable zone so called "the Pacific Ring of Fire" where two continental plates, stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia, meet that cause frequent volcanic movements. 

Another earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 soon jolted Japan's Hokkaido region at 9:21 a.m. (0021 GMT) Thursday, said the Japan Meteorological Agency, which issued an alert of mild tsunami seismic waves along the Pacific coast of northern Japan.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to properties.

Some 10,000 local residents, however, were advised to evacuate in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Japan's main island of Honshu following the tsunami warning.

Local authorities are carrying out safety checks on public transport facilities such as airports and railways in Hokkaido to pinpoint any damage. 

(Xinhua News Agency September 11, 2008)

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