A tsunami warning has been issued after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off Japan's eastern coast.
The epicentre of the quake was about 245km (150 miles) south-east of Kamiashi at a depth of about 36km, the US Geological Survey said.
The quake was felt in the capital Tokyo and a one-metre tsunami is reported to have reached the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture.
Miyagi was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The US-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat to the wider Pacific Ocean but that a tsunami could be generated that was destructive for local coastlines.
There have been no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
Warnings of the tsunami height have varied between 50cm and 2m.
The BBC's Rupert Wingfield Hayes in Tokyo says any such height would represent a far lower risk of devastation than the 10-11 metre tsunami that struck in 2011.
At the moment, he says, the damage appears to be on a limited scale, although even a one-metre tsunami could be a significant event.
Evacuations have been ordered from some of the affected areas.
A presenter on state broadcaster NHK told viewers: "Remember last year's quake and tsunami. Call on your neighbours and flee to higher ground now!"
Buildings were reported to have swayed violently in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda cancelled campaigning for the 16 December election to return to his office.
Communications to Miyagi have proven difficult, with the high volume of telephone calls. Trains in the prefecture have been halted and the runway at Sendai airport closed.
The USGS reported three aftershocks in the same area, of 6.2, 5.5 and 4.7 magnitudes.
The 9.0 magnitude quake that struck on 11 March 2011 caused a devastating tsunami and left more than 15,000 people dead, with more than 3,200 missing.
That quake triggered a meltdown of fuel rods at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing radiation leaks and mass evacuations.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, told Agence France-Presse there were no reports of problems there this time, although workers have moved to higher ground.