Tokyo: A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Tottori prefecture in western Japan at 2:07pm — the strongest in the earthquake-prone country since April temblors killed more than 100, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
There was no tsunami threat from the quake, which struck inland at a depth of 10 kilometers, causing shaking of lower 6 on Japan’s 7-point scale in Tottori, Japan’s least-populated prefecture. It was strongly felt as far away as Kyoto and Japan’s industrial hub of Osaka. Public broadcaster NHK reported that several were injured in the city of Kurayoshi where shaking was among the strongest, but local media have not yet reported any deaths.
Bullet trains serving western Japan operated by Central Japan Railway Co. and Western Japan Railway Co. were halted after the quake. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office has set up a response team. Aftershocks were continuing to be felt in the area.
In April, more than 100 people were killed after two large quakes — a weaker initial tremor, and a stronger one days later — struck the southernmost island of Kyushu.
Friday’s temblor caused power outages, with 36,200 homes without electricity as of 2:30pm , Chugoku Electric Power Co. said. The utility is confirming the status of the idled Shimane nuclear power plant, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the epicenter. Kansai Electric Power Co. said there was no impact on its plants, while Shikoku Electric Power Co. said the Ikata No. 3 reactor in Ehime prefecture was operating normally.
Japan Display Inc., which operates a plant in Tottori, said that it had not found any damage or injuries, spokesman Hirokazu Miyabayashi said by phone. Japan’s largest supermarket chain operator Aeon Co. Ltd set up a special unit in its headquarters to investigate the situation and was gathering information, spokesman Satoshi Ohtsuka said.
Stocks fell and the yen strengthened to as much as 103.75 per dollar after the earthquake. Bloomberg