Magnitude 5.3 quake strikes southern Japan, no tsunami threat

The authorities say that there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits Tokyo and eastern Japan, third in 4 days
Aerial view shows reactor buildings in Japan Reuters

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on Tuesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. However, there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

NHK public television reported that the quake that struck at 11:56 am was centred just offshore from the city of Kagoshima. It originated at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers in Kagoshima Bay, registered upper 5 on the Japanese seismic scale of 1 to 7 in parts of Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu.

The authorities said that no abnormalities were detected at the Sendai nuclear plant where two reactors are currently in operation. However, Kyushu Railway Co. said that the train services were disrupted briefly.

Japan is located 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. But rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

Reports say Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude-6 or greater.

On March 11, 2011, the north-east coast was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake, the strongest quake in Japan on record, and a massive tsunami. Those events triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.