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KITV meteorologists said a tsunami watch was also in effect for the state of Hawaii.
If tsunami waves impact Hawaii, the estimated earliest arrival of the first tsunami wave would be 2:59 a.m. Friday, local time, according to emergency management officials in Hawaii.
Japan's NHK said a small tsunami hit the shore near the epicenter around 3 p.m local time.
Japan's meteorological agency warned that a tsunami as high as 20 feet could strike the coast near Miyagi prefecture, closest to the epicenter.
The agency said the quake struck at 2:46 p.m. Friday at a depth of 6 miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast. Initially, scientists measured the quake at 7.9.