Tsunami warning issued after powerful earthquake hits off the coast of Fukushima in Japan

Furniture and electrical appliances are scattered at an apartment in Fukushima, northern Japan. Credit: AP

A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake has plunged more than two million homes in the Tokyo area into darkness after it shook off the coast of Fukushima in Japan, triggering a tsunami advisory warning.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for up to a 3ft sea surge in parts of Miyagi and Fukushima, and said the earthquake struck 36 miles below the sea at 11.36pm on Wednesday.

The region is part of northern Japan that was devastated by a deadly 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that also caused nuclear plant meltdowns.

Wednesday's earthquake shook large parts of eastern Japan, including Tokyo, with reports suggesting the tsunami may have reached some areas already.

Products are scattered at a convenience store in Fukushima, northern Japan, following the earthquake. Credit: AP

The Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant where the cooling systems failed after the 2011 disaster, said that workers were checking for any possible damage.

There are no immediate reports of casualties or damage, but fighter jets from the Hyakuri base in Ibaraki prefecture, just south of Fukushima, have been dispatched to assess the earthquake's impacts.

It came only days after the area marked the 11th anniversary of the March 2011 disaster, which left more than 18,000 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of locals.

That tsunami was the worst such incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Tsunami waves crashed into Fukushima Daiichi, knocking out its backup electricity supply, sparking meltdowns in several of its reactors and releasing huge amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.

A part of the crippled nuclear plant. Credit: AP

The government was slow in its emergency response at the time, and evacuation in many places was delayed due to a lack of transparency about what was going on.

Residents trying to flee in their cars clogged roads and were stranded for hours. Some residents travelled in the direction of the radiation flow to evacuation centres.

In January it was reported that cancer patients, who were children during the 2011 disaster, were suing the nuclear plant operator responsible, as they say their illnesses were triggered by the radiation.

The six young adults had since developed thyroid cancer and are demanding a total of £4 million in compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, which runs the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The company has said it would “respond sincerely” after examining court documents.