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Monday, 1st March 2010
In Weather In Japan,

Japan apologises over tsunami warning

The Japanese weather agency has said sorry over issuing a major tsunami alert following a large earthquake in South America.

Over the weekend, Chile was hit by an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter Scale, killing more than 700 people and causing devastation across the country.

Following the shake, the Japanese weather agency advised 1.5 million people to evacuate coastal areas of Japan, fearing a large tsunami of up to three metres tall - but in the end, the wave was less than a foot high.

Meteorological Agency official Yasuo Sekita said: "The agency's tsunami forecasts turned out to be a bit too big. I'd like to apologise for the prolonged alerts."

It is not the first time that a far-away quake has impacted the Asian nation. Back in 1960, an earthquake in Chile saw Japan hit by a tsunami which killed more than 140 people.

Japan itself is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries and is long overdue the "big one" - a quake expected to be comparable to the devastating quake seen in the 1920s, which claimed 140,000 lives.

Written by Kimberley Homer.