Japan quake injures 39, reduces houses to rubble

A strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Japan last night (Nov 22).

It left 39 people injured - seven seriously - and wrecked homes in a popular ski resort, the government said today.

The quake struck at 10:08 pm local time (1308 GMT) Saturday in the north of Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, according to the US Geological Survey.

The government confirmed that the quake injured 39 people, destroying houses and snapping water pipes, with the worst damage in mountainous areas.

In Nagano Prefecture’s famous Hakuba Village – a popular ski resort that hosted part of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games – many homes were toppled and destroyed.

Bird’s-eye footage by public broadcaster NHK showed houses reduced to rubble.

No damage to nuclear reactors

Around 30 people were trapped in the collapsed village houses soon after the quake, but were all rescued, Jiji Press said.

The meteorological agency warned strong aftershocks could still occur in the coming week.

There was no damage to the seven nuclear reactors at the sprawling Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in neighbouring Niigata prefecture as they have been off-line since 2011. Other nuclear plants were also intact.

Japan is hit by around a fifth of the world’s powerful quakes every year and sits at the conjunction of several tectonic plates. - AFP