Japan Premier Shinzo Abe vows support for victims after quake injures 41

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) expresses sympathy to victims of earthquake as he visits a shelter at Hakuba village in Nagano prefecture, central Japan on Nov 24, 2014. Mr Abe on Monday promised "firm" support after meeting victims of
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) expresses sympathy to victims of earthquake as he visits a shelter at Hakuba village in Nagano prefecture, central Japan on Nov 24, 2014. Mr Abe on Monday promised "firm" support after meeting victims of a weekend earthquake, which injured 41 people and wrecked hundreds of homes in a popular ski resort. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday promised "firm" support after meeting victims of a weekend earthquake, which injured 41 people and wrecked hundreds of homes in a popular ski resort.

The 6.2 magnitude quake struck Saturday night at a depth of 10km in Nagano prefecture northwest of Tokyo.

A total of 41 people were injured, seven seriously, but no one was killed.

The quake also seriously damaged Nagano's famous Hakuba Village, a popular ski resort that hosted part of the 1998 Winter Olympics.

The Nagano prefectural government said more than 460 houses and other buildings were damaged while landslides hit at least four areas in the region.

Abe visited quake-hit zones and met survivors in a shelter after he was briefed on the extent of the damage.

"The government is determined to offer firm support, including rebuilding houses," he told reporters.

The meteorological agency has warned of possible strong aftershocks this week.

There was no damage to the seven nuclear reactors at the sprawling Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in neighbouring Niigata prefecture. They have been off-line since 2011, when a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami in north-east Japan that left at least 18,000 dead or missing.

Japan sits at the junction of several tectonic plates. Every year it is hit by around a fifth of the world's powerful quakes.