Japan tells coastal people to evacuate for tsunami

Source : http://www.reuters.com

February 27, 2010 - TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan issued a warning on Sunday for a tsunami of 3 meters (10 ft) or higher along its northern Pacific Coast and warned coastal residents to evacuate to higher ground, after a massive earthquake struck Chile.

The tsunami could hit the Pacific coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido around 1:00 p.m. (11 p.m. EST), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

"The height of the tsunami could be twice what is expected, depending on factors such as the shape of the coasts. Also, the second tsunami and ones afterwards could be bigger," broadcaster NHK's website quoted JMA official Yasuo Sekita as saying.

In May 1960, a tsunami struck the coasts of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido and other northern Pacific coastal areas after an earthquake in Chile, leaving around 140 people dead or missing, media said.

One of the world's most powerful earthquakes in a century battered Chile on Saturday, killing at least 214 people, knocking down buildings and triggering a tsunami that threatened Pacific coastlines as far away as Hawaii and Japan.

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