Update: 2 people dead with multiple aftershocks
The strongest earthquake to strike Japan’s southern Kumamoto area since 2011 has leveled scores of houses and caused other damage. The quake had a magnitude of 6.4, but no tsunami warning has been issued.
More than 2 dozen aftershocks with a magnitude of over 3 are being reported.
The town of Mashiki in Kumamoto Prefecture, local authorities said more than 20 homes have collapsed and several people are trapped under debris, including a woman who had lost consciousness. Multiple fires have also broken out in the town.
More than 100 people were being treated for injuries at three hospitals in Kumamoto City, hospital officials said. And one person was reported injured in each of the neighboring prefectures of Saga and Miyazaki, police there said.
Power has been lost in some areas.
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Japan’s nuclear regulator reported no problems at nearby power plants.
The Meteorological Agency said the quake hit at 9:26 p.m., and an intensity of 7 on the Japanese scale of 7 was registered in the town of Mashiki in Kumamoto Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu.
Reports said rail operator JR Kyushu suspended all operations on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line following the quake. On the Sanyo Shinkansen Line connecting the Honshu mainland and Kyushu, power was lost between Hakata and Kokura stations but operations later resumed at around 9:40 p.m.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that damage was being assessed.
“We intend to do the utmost to grasp the situation,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “I’m now planning to hear what we have gathered on the situation.”
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said there were no irregularities at three nuclear plants on the southernmost island of Kyushu and nearby Shikoku.