6.2 magnitude earthquake hits western Japan, no tsunami threat

Authorities say the quake damaged electricity lines leaving nearly 40,000 homes powerless.

Japan earthquake: At least 11 killed as new 7.3 magnitude tremor hits Kumamoto region
Romon gate (bottom R), designated as a nationally important cultural property, and other buildings damaged by an earthquake are seen at Aso Shrine in Aso, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan. Reuters

A strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck western Japan on Friday, but there was no tsunami alert, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

USGS said the quake hit at a depth of 10 km in Tottori prefecture after 2 pm (0500 GMT).

NHK, the public broadcaster reported that the local officials said a house collapsed in the town of Yurihama, while fires broke out in another part of the prefecture. But, the officials denied giving further information.

The fire department in Kurayoshi City reported that they received seven emergency calls for injuries.

Several television channels showed footage of severe shaking in the region.

"We felt fairly strong jolts, which I think were the biggest in years, but we have not seen any damage or things falling," Suminori Sakinada, a local government official, told AFP.

Authorities said the quake damaged electricity lines leaving nearly 40,000 homes powerless. Bullet train services were also suspended in the area.

However, NHK said switched-off nuclear reactors were not affected in the region.

The USGS had initially marked the magnitude of the quake at 6.6 but later it was downgraded.

Japan is situated at the junction of four tectonic plates and earthquakes are quite common in the country. The country sits on one of the world's most seismically active zones.

According to reports, Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude-6 or greater.

But, rigid building codes and their strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.