Emperor Akihito, 83, indicated last year that he wanted to step down, but the move required legislation.Read the full story ›
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A tsunami of up to 4.5 feet (1.4 metres) has struck the coast of Japan, hitting the same region devastated by a massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011.
The tsunami hit the coast around Sendai, about 45 miles (70km) north of Fukushima, with smaller waves hitting ports elsewhere along the coast.
"We saw high waves but nothing that went over the tidal barriers," a man in the city of Iwaki told NTV television network, following the 7.4 magnitude earthquake.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said the tsunami threat had now largely passed.
"Sea level fluctuations may continue along some coasts of Japan over the next few hours," it said.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 has hit central New Zealand, little more than a week after a powerful tremor killed two on the South Island.
Tuesday's quake was centred off the coast of the North Island, 86 miles (138km) from Palmerston North at a depth of 23 miles (37km).
Thousands of aftershocks have been registered since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Christchurch in the early hours of Monday, November 14.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 has triggered tsunami warnings across Japan.
The quake, which was felt in Tokyo, was centred 67 km northeast of Iwaki off the coast of Fukushima.
A tsunami of up to one metre (three feet) was observed in the area, following the quake shortly before 6am local time, Japanese media reported.
According to public broadcaster NHK, the Tokyo Electric Power Co said there was no damage to any of its power plants.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
Fukushima is home to the nuclear power plant that was destroyed by a huge tsunami following an offshore earthquake in 2011, spilling radiation out into the air and sea.
The earthquake that caused that disaster was magnitude 9, the strongest quake in Japan on record.