Japan has once again faced a large earthquake, but this time it struck off northwest of Japan's Ryukyu Islands. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake occurred at 5:51 a.m. (20:51 GMT) on Nov. 14, 2015, the Japan Meteorological Agency and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.
Though no initial damage was reported, the USGS reported small tsunamis measuring one meter in height. A tsunami yellow warning was raised but was also lifted after an hour. Local officials urged residents from low lying areas to evacuate and go to higher grounds.
"Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, the earthquake was not sufficient to generate a tsunami," the warning center said.
Series of aftershocks were recorded after the major quake. A 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck off Makurazaki, Kagoshima at 21:17 UTC, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit Kushikino, Kagoshima at 14:01 UTC and a 4.6 magnitude again struck Kushikino at 3:51 UTC.
A magnitude 7 earthquake is considered a major quake that can cause serious damage to properties. An earthquake happens when two tectonic plates or blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another causing movements underneath the earth's surface.
Japan, which is along the Ring of Fire, experienced its strongest earthquake on March 2011 when a magnitude-9 earthquake hit northeastern Japan unleashing a savage 30-feet tsunami that took an estimated 15,893 lives.
The Ring of Fire is a string of active volcanoes and seismic activity in the Pacific Ocean region. Japan is not only along the ring but also considered as one of the most tectonically active places on Earth. In fact, more than 10 percent of the planet's volcanic activity happens in Japan.
Amid being an earthquake and typhoon target every now and then, Japan has practiced disaster preparedness and these efforts helped in saving lives. In fact, after the 2011 major quake and tsunami, they revised their basic disaster preparedness law three times over the past four years.
The government recommends having earthquake resistant houses for their residents. They allotted government budget to increase the number of houses from 79 percent in 2008 to 90 percent by the end of the year.