Major Earthquake Hits Japan, Strongest Since 2011; At Least 10 Houses Collapse, Suga Urges "Calm"

Just over 5 years since the massively destructive 2011 Japanese earthquake which unleashed a tsunami and led to the Fukushima disaster, moments ago NHK reported that Japan's Kumamoto region had been hit with another quake which had a Shindo shaking intensity of 7 and registered a magnitude of apprxoimately 6.4.

According to the Japanese media this is the strongest quake to hit Japan since the 2011 earthquake. The good news is that so far there has been no tsunami alert.

Bloomberg adds that JR trains, incl. bullet trains, have been halted in Kyushu; Kyushu Electric checking impact of quake on the operating Sendai nuclear reactors.

As AP reports, there are no immediate reports of casualties.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that damage was being assessed. A number of houses have collapsed, but there was no abnormality at nearby nuclear facilities, Suga said.

 

"There was a ka-boom and the whole house violently shook sideways," Takahiko Morita, a resident in Mashiki, a town at the epicenter, told a telephone interview with NHK TV. "Furniture and bookshelves fell down, books were all over the floor."

 

Morita said there is no power outage in his neighborhood but water supply was cut off. Some houses and walls collapsed, he said.

 

Keisukei Urata, an official at nearby Uki city, said he was driving home when the quake struck at 9:26 p.m.

 

He also said he saw some walls around houses collapsing.

 

Parts of the ceiling at Uki City Hall also collapsed, windows were broken and cabinets fell to the ground, he said.

 

Kasumi Nakamura, an official in the village of Nishihara near the epicenter, said that the rattling started modestly and grew violent, lasting about 30 seconds.

 

"Papers, files, flower vases and everything fell on the floor," he told NHK. He said there were aftershocks.

 

One aftershock measuring 5.7 struck about 40 minutes later, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency.

 

The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's preliminary magnitude at 6.2 and said it was 23 kilometers (14 miles) deep. It said there's a low likelihood of casualties but some damage is possible.

More updates:

  • SUGA: ASK THOSE AFFECTED BY QUAKE TO ACT IN CALM MANNER
  • JAPAN CHIEF GOVT SPOKESMAN SAYS SEVERAL BUILDINGS HAVE COLLAPSED AFTER EARTHQUAKE: RTRS
  • SUGA: NO NEWS OF DAMAGE AT NUCLEAR REACTORS AFTER QUAKE
  • NHK SAYS NO TSUNAMI THREAT FROM KUMAMOTO QUAKE AFTERSHOCK
  • AT LEAST 10 COLLAPSED HOUSES IN JAPAN EARTHQUAKE: NHK
  • JAPAN SDF SENDING CHOPPERS TO ASSESS QUAKE DAMAGE: YOMIURI
  • JAPAN ISSUES EARLY WARNING QUAKE ALERT FOR KUMAMOTO: NHK

A map of the region from JMA:

 

According to USGS, the quake is a magnitude 6.0

Another map of the location:

 

Some initial social media images from the ground: