Tokyo: A strong earthquake jolted the northwestern Japanese area of Niigata on Monday (16 July), the Japanese Meteorological Agency said. The preliminary magnitude was 6.6.
The quake, which took place at 10:13 a.m. (0113 GMT), was also felt in Tokyo, and a tsunami watch was issued along the Sea of Japan. The predicted height of the tsunami was estimated to be 50 cm (20 inches).
The quake was centred around 60 km southwest of Niigata, some 256 km northwest of Tokyo, with a focus some 10 km below the earth’s surface.
Officials in the city of Kashiwazaki said they were checking reports several houses had been damaged, NHK said. There were reports that several people had been buried under a house.
””There were ambulances and fire trucks running so there seems to be injuries,” Masae Yanai told NHK from Kashiwazaki.
”Gas seems to have leaked in some places. Electricity is fine, but I can’t go inside,” he added.
Another man told NHK: “It was as if I was on a ship. People came out of buildings.”
Bullet train services had been halted and NHK said there were power outages and that some highways had been closed.
Niigata was the site of an October 2004 earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 which 65 people and injured more than 3,000.
That was the deadliest quake since a magnitude 7.3 tremor hit the city of Kobe in 1995, killing more than 6,400.