Earthquake Rattles Tokyo

An earthquake centered north of Tokyo (search) rattled the Japanese capital early Wednesday, jarring buildings and knocking goods off store shelves. There was no threat of tsunami (search), and there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The 5.4-magnitude quake was centered in southern Ibaraki prefecture (search), just north of the capital, and struck at 4:46 a.m. Wednesday (2:46 p.m. EST Tuesday), the Meteorological Agency said. Its epicenter was 25 miles below the surface.

National broadcaster NHK showed monitoring cameras around central Tokyo shaking, and the rumbling was felt in surrounding areas such as Yokohama. Goods were jolted off convenience store shelves near the epicenter.

A magnitude 5 earthquake can cause damage to homes if it occurs in a residential area.

There was no threat of tsunami, or potentially dangerous waves triggered by seismic activity, the agency said.

Japan, which rests atop several tectonic plates, is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

On Oct. 23, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck Niigata, about 160 miles northwest of Tokyo, killing 40 people and damaging more than 6,000 homes. The jolt was the deadliest to hit Japan since 1995, when a magnitude-7.3 quake killed 6,433 people in the western city of Kobe.