Five injured after magnitude 5.6 quake hits western Japan: Agency

A stone torii gate damaged by an earthquake is seen at Karita Shrine in Ohda, Shimane Prefecture, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo, on April 9, 2018.
A stone torii gate damaged by an earthquake is seen at Karita Shrine in Ohda, Shimane Prefecture, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo, on April 9, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) -A 5.6-magnitude quake hit western Japan early Monday, injuring five people and damaging buildings and roads, as officials warned stronger tremors could come in the days ahead. 

The shallow tremor was reported as magnitude 6.1 by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), according to Kyodo news agency, although the United States Geological Service Survey (USGS) gave its strength as 5.6.  The Japanese agency urged residents to stay vigilant.

The quake rocked the west of the main island of Honshu, with the epicenter 96 km north of Hiroshima.

 “We want the areas that experienced strong tremors to be on guard in the coming week or so against quakes that could be as powerful as the upper five,” agency official Toshiyuki Matsumori told a news conference, referring to a Japanese seismic scale with a maximum intensity of seven. 

 An upper five on Japan’s Shindo scale refers to tremors that make it difficult to walk without holding onto something. 

 Strong aftershocks could continue for two to three days, Matsumori said, and several strong tremors have already been felt in the region hit by the initial quake. 

Five people were hurt in the quake, including a 17-year-old boy who broke his leg after falling from his bed, but no life-threatening injuries were reported.

 Around 100 households lost water in Oda City, prompting troops to send trucks to set up makeshift water supply stations. 

Damage to some buildings and roads were also reported.  No problems were reported at the nearby Shimane nuclear power station, which has been offline for a checkup.  

Japan sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" where a large proportion of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.

A devastating magnitude 9.0 quake - which struck under the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2011 - and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and took the lives of thousands of people.