Authorities probe reports of damage after 6.3 magnitude quake jolts central Japan
A massive 6.3 magnitude earthquake, measuring a strong 6 on the Japanese Shindo scale, hit the central Ishikawa region on Friday afternoon. While no tsunami warning was issued, sea level changes of less than 20 cm were possible, the Meteorological Agency informed.
Authorities were addressing reports of injuries and collapsed structures, NHK reported.
While one man who fell off a ladder was showing no vital signs, the fire department in the city of Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture – near the quake’s epicenter – said two buildings had collapsed, trapping two people, the news agency further mentioned.
The earthquake occurred at 2:42 pm at a depth of 10 km, with the epicenter located about 300 km northwest of Tokyo. Strong 6 is the second-highest level on the Japanese scale. According to the Meteorological Agency, the amount of shaking can make it “impossible to remain standing or move without crawling.”
The area could be jolted by aftershocks of similar intensities, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said in an emergency news conference on Friday afternoon. A tremor measuring shindo 4 followed soon after the initial quake.
Matsuno called on citizens to pay attention to evacuation information announced by local authorities as well as details coming on radio, television and the internet.
Owing to its intensity, the quake could cause major landslides as well. The natural disaster also prompted the suspension of Shinkansen bullet trains between Nagano and Kanazawa, according to Japan Railway.
Nevertheless, earthquakes are quite common in the Asian country, which is located on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc known for intense seismic activity and volcanic eruptions.