At least 9 injured after M6.6 quake hits western Japan

At least 9 injured after M6.6 quake hits western Japan
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

At least nine people were injured late Wednesday after an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 struck a wide area of western Japan.

The quake at 11:14 p.m. registered lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Ainan, Ehime Prefecture, and Sukumo, Kochi Prefecture, both on Shikoku Island, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

According to prefectural governments and local fire departments, six people in Ehime Prefecture and one person in Kochi Prefecture sustained minor injuries, while two were hurt in Oita Prefecture in the Kyushu region, southwestern Japan.

Shikoku Railway said services on some lines were canceled from the start of Thursday.

A valve defect reduced the power output of the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear complex in Ehime Prefecture by 2 percent, though there was no major problem with overall operations, Shikoku Electric Power said.

In Sukumo, 23 people evacuated temporarily, while water supplies in the city were disrupted due to burst pipes at many locations. Ten residents in Yusuhara, Kochi Prefecture, were also temporarily cut off due to fallen trees.

The focus of the quake in the Bungo Channel was in a zone that a government panel has said could see a devastating temblor with a magnitude of at least 8.0 in the next 30 years.

However, an agency official told a press conference it was unlikely that the latest temblor had increased the chances of a massive quake.

The temblor occurred in the Philippine Sea Plate, which has a different seismic mechanism than a potential Nankai Trough quake, the agency said. Its epicenter was also located around 10 kilometers deeper than the plate boundary for a massive earthquake, the agency added.

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