Earthquake hits Japan, 39 hurt

Earthquake hits Japan, 39 hurt

A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Japan left 39 people injured, seven seriously, and wrecked homes in a popular ski resort, the government said yesterday.

The quake struck on Saturday night at a depth of 10km at the epicentre, in the north of Nagano Prefecture, north-west of Tokyo, according to the US Geological Survey.

The government said the quake destroyed houses and snapped water pipes, with the worst damage in mountainous areas, AFP reported.

In Nagano Prefecture's famous Hakuba Village - a popular ski resort that hosted part of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games - many homes were toppled and destroyed, the authorities said.

Bird's-eye footage by public broadcaster NHK showed houses reduced to rubble. Japanese TV stations also carried images showing landslides that had cut off roads and railroads, as well as flattened houses and warped highways, reported CNN.

Around 30 people were trapped in the collapsed village houses soon after the quake, but were all rescued, Jiji Press said.

Mr Ryo Nishino, a restaurant owner in Hakuba, told NHK that he had "never experienced a quake that shook so hard. The sideways shaking was enormous."

He said he was in the restaurant's wine cellar when the earthquake struck, and that nothing broke there, reported The Japan Times.

The meteorological agency warned strong aftershocks could still occur in the coming week.

There was no damage to the seven nuclear reactors at the sprawling Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in neighbouring Niigata prefecture as they have been off-line since 2011.

Other nuclear plants were also intact.

IN CHINA

Separately, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck a remote part of China's south-west on Saturday, killing five and injuring 60.

The quake struck 39km north-west of Kangding in the mountainous west of Sichuan province.

Just under 80,000 people were affected by the quake, Xinhua news agency said, adding that 25,000 houses were damaged and 6,200 people relocated.


This article was first published on Nov 24, 2014.
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