Strong Aftershock Kills 3 In NE Japan

SENDAI, Japan – A strong aftershock ripped through northeastern Japan, killing three people, knocking out power to vast areas Friday and piling misery on a region still buried under the rubble of last month's devastating tsunami.

The northeastern coast was still reeling from the destruction wrought by a jumbo 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, with tens of thousands of households without power or water. The 7.1 tremor has now thrown even more areas into disarray and sent communities that had made some gains back to square one.

Gasoline that had become more available after weeks of shortages was scarce again, and long lines formed at stations. Stores that had restocked shelves sold out of basics Friday and were forced to ration purchases again.

Still, the latest quake did far less damage, generated no tsunami and largely spared the region's nuclear plants. Some slightly radioactive water spilled at one plant, but the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi complex reported no new problems.