A moderate earthquake shook northern Japan (search) late Thursday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake, which hit at about 10:00 p.m. (1300 GMT), had a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 and was centered off the Pacific coast of Aomori prefecture (state) at a depth of about 70 kilometers (44 miles) beneath the ocean floor, the Meteorological Agency said.

There was no threat of tsunami (search), the potentially destructive waves triggered by seismic activity or underwater landslides, the agency said.

The tremor was most strongly felt in the area around the Shimokita peninsula about 580 kilometers (360 miles) northeast of Tokyo, it said.

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

Japan, which rests atop several tectonic plates, is among the world's most quake-hit countries.

On Oct. 23, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck Niigata, about 260 kilometers (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-7.2 quake killed 6,433 people in the western city of Kobe.