Earthquake shakes southwestern Japan

A MAGNITUDE 6.3 earthquake shook southwestern Japan, though no tsunami warning has been issued and major damage has been reported.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the tremor struck at 8:48am local time (9.48am AEST) at a depth of about 20 kilometres off the east coast of the southern island of Kyushu.

The quake caused several buildings to shake for around 20 seconds in several locations in Miyazaki Prefecture, state broadcaster NHK said.


The earthquake caused disruptions and delays in local railway lines, according to rail operator JR Kyushu, while local agency Kyodo said there could be delays at Miyazaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima airports.

No significant material damage or injuries have been reported from the earthquake, with NHK reporting that power companies said there was no damage reported at nuclear power plants.

More than 10,000 people died in March 2011 when a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck beneath the Pacific Ocean east of Japan, triggering a huge tsunami that wiped out or severely damaged infrastructure along the coast, including Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The disaster was the most significant nuclear accident since Chernobyl in modern-day Ukraine in 1986.

Japan is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most active seismic zones in the world, and suffers earthquakes with relatively high frequency, so its infrastructure is specially designed to withstand earthquakes.

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