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20,000 Residents Flee As Small Tsunami Waves Hit Japanese Coastal Areas

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Waves created by the massive 8.3 magnitude earthquake that struck 10 miles off the coast of Chile have found their way to Japanese shores.

The JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) has put up a tsunami advisory for the country's entire east coast, from the north-eastern parts of Hokkaido down to Okinawa and Kagoshima prefecture in Kyushu, as well as the islands that are situated east of the mainland, including Izu, Ogasawara and Okinawa.

The advisory, which was issued at 2 a.m. EDT, indicates that waves ranging from 8 inches to 3 feet will hit the said areas.

The agency recorded waves as high as 31 inches on Sept. 17 somewhere in Kuji, a city within Iwate prefecture in the mainland. The area was one of the heavily devastated locations during the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan. It was also one of the affected areas during the 1960 tsunami generated by an earthquake that also occurred near Chile. The calamity took 139 lives.

No reports of injuries, casualties and infrastructure damages were made. However, residents of several coastal communities were given orders to evacuate as a precaution. About 20,000 people are covered by the mandatory evacuation. Another 126,000 were asked to relocate voluntarily.

JPA official Yohei Hasegawa said that the waves first hit the northern coasts at around 5:20 p.m. EDT before making their way to the southern parts.

Aside from Japan, French Polynesia was also hit, but by even larger waves that were recorded at 4.5 feet.

The tsunami waves have also made their way into U.S. territories. Parts of Hawaii have recorded waves as high as 3 feet that hit between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. EDT. After the waves peaked, the Pacific Typhoon Warning Center lifted the tsunami advisory for the Hawaiian Islands.

Tsunami advisories were also issued for coastal areas in Southern California: Santa Barbara, San Luis, Obispo, Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange were on the list. Just like Hawaii, after the waves peaked at more than 3 feet, the tsunami advisory was lifted.

Smaller waves were also recorded off the coasts of Oregon and Alaska.

According to The Weather Channel, such waves do not pose a threat to those who are on land. However, the currents created can endanger swimmers and small vessels.

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