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Northern Japan, Kurile Islands Assess Toll From Earthquake

NEW tremors shook the northern Japanese port of Kushiro yesterday as exhausted workers cleaned up after an undersea earthquake killed nine people on the nearby Russian Kurile Islands and injured hundreds in Kushiro, Japan.

The quake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, struck late Tuesday night. It was one of the strongest on record in the region. It left wide cracks in roads and concrete surfaces in Kushiro. Tsunamis - seismic waves - unleashed by the earthquake flooded the city wharf. Strong aftershocks continued to shake the island of Hokkaido early yesterday, and milder ones were expected to continue for a month.

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Tsunami alerts from the first quake were still in effect across the Pacific Ocean in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

In the Kurile Islands, the waves reached as high as 15 feet.

In Moscow, an official of the Emergency Situations Ministry said nine people were killed there. He said there had been damage to homes and hospitals on Iturup and Kunashir, the more heavily populated islands in the chain.

A Japanese government spokesman said the Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama summoned a meeting of officials of 22 government agencies to deal with the emergency yesterday.