Earthquake hits western Japan, causing power cuts

Gravestones damaged by the earthquake in Kurayoshi, Tottori prefecture. The quake was felt as far away as Kyoto and Osaka. There was no tsunami threat, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Gravestones damaged by the earthquake in Kurayoshi, Tottori prefecture. The quake was felt as far away as Kyoto and Osaka. There was no tsunami threat, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO • A magnitude-6.6 earthquake struck Tottori prefecture in western Japan yesterday, causing power disruptions, train stoppages and a handful of injuries in the nation's strongest temblor in six months.

There were no reported deaths following the quake, which occurred inland at a depth of 10km at 2.07pm local time, causing shaking measured at lower 6 on Japan's 7-point scale in the country's least-populated prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It was strongly felt as far away as Kyoto and the industrial hub of Osaka.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported seven injuries, according to a statement.

Bullet trains serving western Japan operated by Central Japan Railway and Western Japan Railway stopped operating after the quake.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office set up a response team. Aftershocks continued to be felt in the area. There was no tsunami threat, the meteorological agency said.

In April, more than 100 people were killed after two large temblors - a weaker initial tremor and a stronger one days later - struck the earthquake-prone nation's southernmost island of Kyushu.

The quake yesterday caused power disruptions, with 36,200 homes without electricity at 2.30pm, Chugoku Electric Power said. Electricity has since returned to all regions, the utility said.

It also confirmed no abnormalities at the idled Shimane nuclear power plant, which is located about 80km from the epicentre.

Kansai Electric Power said there was no impact on its plants, while Shikoku Electric Power said the Ikata No. 3 reactor in Ehime prefecture was operating normally.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, which is one of the world's most seismically active areas.

Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Earthquake hits western Japan, causing power cuts'. Print Edition | Subscribe